Showing posts from April, 2014

Cobblestones and Crowds: The Great Canonization Adventure

Am I exhausted?  Yes.  What language do I not want to hear again for another year?  Polish.  What road covering would I like to never see again?  Cobblestones.  Likelihood of coming down with some random disease passed on by one of a million strangers: 80% probability.  Am I certifiably insane?  Almost definitely!

These few basic questions essentially sum up my adventure of the last 24 hours.  To make a long story short (don't worry, not too short) I camped in/curled up on/shuffled across the streets of Rome for about 20 hours for the sake of attending a most historic event, the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XIII.  There you have the certifiably insane part.  You'd be surprised how comfortable it is to curl up on cobblestones and a backpack at 3 in the morning!  Round about that time, I started looking forward to a shower and clean clothes.

To start from the beginning!  I joined my fellow campers around 5 pm on Saturday, and by 6.30 we had a decent spot staked ou…

Easter Friday Rambles and Madelyn's Gift

My time grows short here in Rome!  With that in mind, I made a short list of places I wanted to be sure to see in these last few days.  I don't have many more opportunities for rambling, so I set aside Friday morning for some exploration.  I started my day with morning Mass at Vatican Radio, then popped up to the bakery for breakfast, and took the metro to Piazza del Popolo to eat said breakfast.

[caption id="attachment_1674" align="alignnone" width="645"] Piazza del Popolo is located at the point of the city wall which would have been the main entry point for pilgrims coming to Rome in the medieval and Renaissance eras. Under Pope Sixtus V, this area was enhanced for the sake of the pilgrims. The church of Santa Maria del Popolo was built, so that the pilgrims could give thanks to God immediately after arriving at their destination. Sixtus himself would often come to the church to pray, as well.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1675" align=&…

Borghese Gardens

[caption id="attachment_1665" align="alignnone" width="645"] This week, we made a visit to the Borghese Gallery, a villa which houses a number of amazing pieces of art. Unfortunately, they don't let you take pictures, so I don't have any photographic evidence of the Bernini sculptures and Raphael paintings. However, the Villa Borghese is situated in a large public park, which was a lovely opportunity to enjoy the green of spring without leaving the city. Here are some pictures from the gardens![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1670" align="alignnone" width="645"] Cat spotting![/caption]

Easter Sequence

The Triduum holds a dear place in my heart, connected as it is with so many memories of growing up.  My family and I do a lot of volunteer work for the parish.  I practically grew up in the sacristy, choir loft and parish hall.  Nowadays I treasure those experiences, and the love and devotion my parents have always shown for the liturgy.  Honestly, working for the church has taught me so much about life and my faith!  I missed those times this Easter, since I'm so far away from my parish.  In a way, though, that separation forced me to focus more on the liturgy itself, rather than the backstage work.  I was able to notice and appreciate details that sometimes I miss when I'm caught up in the bustle of Holy Week.  I rediscovered things like the silence of the Altar of Repose, the evocative chants and voices of the Passion, the coldness of a barren altar, the privilege of kissing the feet of my dead Lord at the Veneration of the Cross, the pain and loneliness of the Reproaches, …

Buona Pasqua!

[caption id="attachment_1640" align="alignnone" width="645"] On the morning of Easter Sunday, we walked over to the North American College for Mass and lunch. Our chaplains had graciously invited us, and made it a wonderful Easter for all of us. After the Mass, we walked up to the rooftop terrace to enjoy the view of the city and wait for the Pope's Urbi et Orbi blessing.  The circular brown building to the left is Castel Sant'Angelo, originally the tomb of emperor Hadrian.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1641" align="alignnone" width="645"] Terrace. and classmates enjoying the view.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1644" align="alignnone" width="645"] This is Father Daniel, our wonderful Aussie chaplain and friend.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1645" align="alignnone" width="645"] Yours truly! Greetings and happy Easter from Bella Roma. That's San Pi…

Holy Saturday - Morning at St. Peter's

[caption id="attachment_1634" align="alignnone" width="645"] In front of the Blessed Sacrament chapel is this beautiful crucifix and flowers.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1635" align="alignnone" width="645"] The Pieta is the perfect image for meditation today.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1636" align="alignnone" width="645"] They're setting up for the Easter Vigil tonight. We're aiming for the closest seats possible! It will probably involve an 8-hour wait, but what the heck.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1637" align="alignnone" width="645"] Setting up St. Peter's Square for tomorrow morning. It is so weird to not be doing anything this morning - my brain is telling me I should be decorating SOMETHING or at the very least ironing altar cloths!!![/caption]

This morning I popped down to St. Peter's bright and early to get to confession before …