Monday, May 21, 2012

Viva Roma

So far today: I got up at 6:20am, feeling perfectly good after 8 hours' sleep.  I must say though, 36 hours from leaving home after work on Friday to getting to the hotel yesterday evening was rough - every time I passed by the business class seats on the plane I felt so jealous!

The reason I stay where I do in Rome is that my hotel is very close to St Peter's, so, having arisen early, I was there at 7 am as they unlocked the doors, and went to Mass (lots of these going on at different altars): I'd wanted to see if I could find Fr Withoos, a priest I know, saying Mass (I know he usually does so there on weekdays before he starts work) but I didn't see him.  Anyway (I'm typing slowly because this Italian keyboard has some symbols in different places to English ones), it was good to go to early Mass - a lone priest, offering Low Mass of the Sunday after Ascension, with myself and another person as his congregation; at an adjoining altar, a modern Mass was on offer, but we layfolk voted with our feet - then off to kneel near three other altars (each with Mass going on) while I said Lauds in thanksgiving (as the name suggests!).

After returning to the hotel for breakfast, I eventually walked over to Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, not far away on the other side of the Tiber: High Mass there was great - it was of the Ascension itself, because in Italy the feast is transferred to the Sunday (but not in the Vatican itself): wonderful music (choir and organ), and I even understood most of the sermon in Italian.

As well as the three priests at the altar (two acting as deacon and subdeacon respectively), there were three more in choir, a seventh hearing confessions, and at least three if not four or five other priests in the congregation that I noticed... I know that Rome is crawling with priests and bishops (just as in mediaeval times, about half of the latter are in Rome at any one time, 'tis alleged), but really!  Oh, and the priest who subdeaconed was just finishing a "low" Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian, I think, as I arrived at church.

Mass ended, I scouted around the local area and came across the church where St Vincent Pallotti reposes incorrupt beneath the principal altar - I once read a book about him, which was very edifying, and he's connected to W.A. because he gave the monks of New Norcia a picture of Our Lady which is credited with saving them from a bushfire by a miracle; it's the 50th anniversary of his canonization by good Pope John, and there is a year of jubilee being celebrated in his honour, with plenary indulgence on offer (lucky me) for those who visit his resting place granted by the Pope.

I think I'll visit St Philip Neri soon, and head back to SSma Trinità for Vespers and Benediction before dinner with a friend from the NAC...

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