Please excuse the lack of updates over the weekend - though there be no shortage of activity. Members of the class made a few trips to greater Italy - most notably Venice and Milan, and Florence. We will gather some pictures of these expeditions to post soon. Here in Rome, the internet connection was unavailable until today, so were going to catch up now. Thank you for your patience and continued interest!
Our first stop on this, the last Monday of our time in Rome, completed our circuit of the four Papal Basilicas: this time we visited Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major), originally constructed to commemorate the Council of Ephesus in 431 and the approval of the title "Mother of God" (Theotokos) for the Blessed Mother. The Basilica's main treasures are the Holy Manger, the main altar containing the body of St. Matthew, and the Borghese chapel, home of the Salus Populi Romani icon, traditionally held to have been painted by St. Luke. This is where Pope Pius XII celebrated his first Mass. The main celebrant of our Mass today was none other than our Rector, Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan, lately arrived from St. Paul!
|Class entering the grand Basilica of Our Lady|
|Praying at the reliquary containing the Holy Manger|
|Beginning of Mass|
|Deacon John Rutten proclaiming the Gospel|
|Msgr. Callaghan preaching|
|Deacon Evan Koop distributing the Precious Blood|
|Burial place of the great Baroque master Bernini at St. Mary Major|
After St. Mary Major, we took a short walk down a side street to the Basilica of Santa Prassede, a minor basilica which has special significance for us as seminarians. Santa Prassede was the titular church of the great St. Charles Borromeo, who, before becoming the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, served as Secretary of State for his uncle, Pope Pius IV. St. Charles used to feed the poor from a table in the church, which is now housed in a special reliquary. There is also a chair used by the Saint, as well as a piece of the pillar of the Scourging (not pictured)
|Chair of St. Charles Borromeo|
|Closeup of the table from which St. Charles regularly fed the poor of Rome|
After lunch, we were visited at the Domus by an American priest who is an official in the Congregation for Bishops, the Curial office responsible for the naming and vetting of bishops throughout the world. He explained the interesting process of how bishops are named and proposed to the Holy Father.
|Meeting with the official from the Congregation of Bishops|