Sunday, October 25, 2009

Living in Rome, Part I

The Eternal City...




The beautiful St. Peter's Basilica

A panorama of Roma

Greetings from the eternal city! There has been as usual a lot going on here. We have had an opening banquet, a Halloween festa, and our first soccer game of the season (which we won)!
And my first test is next week, translating Latin into Italian. We'll see how that goes!
Walking through the streets of Rome almost everyday is familarizing me with life in Rome.
Getting to meet new people, see a new culture, and learn about the "Roman" life today, has been really an experience. Here are a few things I would like to tell you about.



A picture of Roma, and where the university which I attend is located.


Winding Streets with Shops...

The streets of Rome are really amazing to walk through, especially in the centro (central) of
the city. The streets are narrow and windy, surrounded by tall buildings that are quite old (and sometimes ancient). The roads in this part are cobblestone, and every few blocks there is a piazza with fountains and beautiful works of art.
Unlike today in most United States' cities, there are little shops all over the place with every kind of knick-knack imaginable. There are no Walgreens or Walmarts, but a thousand different "family run" shops that are just trying to make a living. The diversity of things to find in these shops is really interesting; I love to look in the windows as I pass by to see what will be in the next shop! I know that all you shoppers who are reading this are probably rubbing your hands together or something, but sadly a lot of beautiful things in the shops are "molto caro" that is very expensive. (Especially with the US dollar as it is) That does not mean, however, that you cannot dream about all the beautiful furniture, artwork, and clothing that are just waiting to be bought by a tourist just like you. I will take some photos...

Roman Symphony...

Last night I went to my first Roman Symphony concert. The concert was of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and it was incredible. What a perfect choice to begin the season! The upcoming concert this week is a piece composed by Scarlatti, (I think it is called Europa Galante).
I will keep you updated on the pieces in the season ahead...and maybe sneak some pictures too (not of the actual concert though, because that is "vietato"--in English, illegal).


Pasta and Pizza...


Upcoming Trips...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ordinations, Visitations, Canonizations

Yes, it is time for me again to post—the weeks have been flying by—and there is certainly a lot to post about! That is the reason for the above title. This past week has been probably the busiest of weeks since I left the United States.
Here is a sketch of the week’s schedule:

Monday
My grandfather’s 86th Birthday
My theology studies begin
Choir rehearsal for Diaconate Ordination

Tuesday
The Rector of my college seminary visits the NAC
School continues
Choir rehearsal again

Wednesday
The Archbishop of Baltimore visits the NAC for the week
School again
Choir Rehearsal again
Vigil for seminarians to be ordained, with choir

Thursday
Diaconate Ordination at St. Peters Basilica, with choir
Reception at the NAC

Friday
School again, first week of theology completed
Baltimore gathering for dinner in Rome
Cardinal Keeler arrives in Rome to visit

Saturday
Last gathering with past seminary rector
Studying for next week

Sunday
Canonization Mass at St. Peters Basilica
Preparing for second week of classes

So, all these things plus studying, praying, and more, have kept me pretty busy this week. And despite the fact that it was busy, it was a wonderful week. I had the honor of being able to sing in a choir at St. Peters Basilica; I was able to meet new families and old friends who were visiting Rome; I was able to participate in the Canonization Mass of five saints, with tens of thousands of people (and a few of Prime Ministers, a king and queen, and the Pope and hundreds of priest and bishops). It was amazing…and so here are some pictures:


























The ordination and the canonization were especially memorable. A friend from college seminary was ordained and also a priest of Hawaii was canonized (St. Damian of Molokai). Here is a link to a biography on the priest and his heroic life in Hawaii: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Father_Damien_(Joseph_de_Veuster)

I am very happy to be studying at L’Universita Santa Croce. The classes there are very engaging, and I find the professors to be charitable and prayerful (I see them in the chapel before classes begin). So I am very excited to continue to study in this university. Here is a link to the universities website (and yes, they have an English version): http://www.pusc.it/

I forgot to mention as well my silent retreat. I had a great and profound experience up in the Italian mountains. It is very beautiful and peaceful there, and thus it helped me focus on God and prepare myself for the busy week which I have just finishing describing. I remember thinking of the phrase: “The calm before the storm.” I can say now, instead, that the “storm” was not so terrible; instead, I really found God in busy times as well as in the times of peace and silence. The key for me is to make sure that I am looking for Him, whether in busy times or not. So, if you find yourself in the midst of a very active life, that does not mean you cannot find God or pray to Him. Actually, at least in my experience, the busyness has nothing to with it; finding God is simple all the time, we just have to be looking and searching for Him.

Keep looking and searching then, friends, and I will continue to pray for you during the many activities of my life here in Rome.

The Vatican