The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Roma: Sunday

Today began with a quick breakfast at the hotel followed by a brisk walk to St. Peters for 9 a.m. Mass. Among the sad commentaries on modern life is the fact that one must pass through security before attending Mass at St. Peter's. The security folks, however, found us to be inoffensive and permitted us to pass without having to undergo a full-body strip search.

The Mass, of course, was celebrated in Italian and so we understood perhaps 10% of what was said. The celebrant gave an animated and, I am sure, interesting homily on the Exaltation of the Cross. He was joined at the altar by four con-celebrants but no deacons. I was hoping to see a deacon or two if only to ask what is was like to serve as a deacon assigned to the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. It's just one of the many unanswered questions constantly roaming around my overtaxed and under-utilized brain. (Or is it under-taxed and over-utilized?)

After Mass we made our way back to the hotel and changed rooms. Our new room is somewhat larger although the shower looks to be about the same size. We'll manage. Then we changed into our tourist clothes, and went to lunch at one of the many little restaurants on Borgo Pio, a touristy, pedestrian only street near the Vatican. The meal was OK, but not worth a return trip. We then walked a few blocks to Castel Sant'Angelo, paid the entrance fee, and climbed (to the point of near exhaustion) to the terrace at the top of the Castel to take in one of Rome's more breathtaking views. I took lots of photos which I will include on a slide show on the blog once we return home. The Castel was originally built as the Emperor Hadrian's tomb back in the 2nd century. Later it became a fortress for popes under siege...but you can read all about its history from far more authoritative sources elsewhere. Just be sure to include a visit to the Castel when you're in Rome. It's worth the climb.

We enjoyed yesterday evening's meal so much we decided to return to the same restaurant for dinner this evening. Except tonight we splurged and ordered two of their finest steaks. What a treat, and what a marvelous meal! The restaurant is new, only a month old, and the head waiter is the owner. I'll include the restaurant's name and address in tomorrow's posting -- too tired to look for it tonight.

Tomorrow is another day. We plan to visit the other major basilicas of Rome: St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran, and St. Mary Major. I'd also like to squeeze in a visit to St. Cecilia in Trastevere if we have time. On our last visit to Rome we went there only to find the church closed for renovations. Anyway, all of this should occupy most of the day.

Blessings from Rome...

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