Rome Diaries - Week 75

From 2006 to 2011 Paulist Father Tom Holahan served as vice rector of the Paulist church in Rome. During that time he had the opportunity to spend time exploring the historic sites of Rome as well as the hidden ones. The blog features excerpts from this travel diary. A new selection appears each week.

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March 29, 2009

A few days ago, a friend told me of a village near Rimini filled with young people who produce inspirational musicals and then take them on the road. Their website describes them:

We are well-balanced young people who live in the real world. We are united with many from all over Italy and also abroad. What do we do? We put into practice what Jesus told us and what the Church teaches. We are not against anybody, rather we love everybody, we don’t cheat anybody because we are not false, we smile even at those who hate us and try to get rid of us and we do everything with love even when we are at work…we overcome everything with the weapons of love.

It is as if the troubadours once again roamed Europe. Today, at lunch, I am brought down to earth by a reminder of what such idealism has to put up with. I hear about a wealthy and well-connected Roman family who happen to have a potential saint in their recent past. Instead of joy, and an eagerness to get on with the canonization process, they wonder, “Why did he go to Mass every day, was something wrong with him?” Cluelessness plays no favorites. Francis of Assisi made his escape from relatives who had exactly the same negative attitude.


April 4, 2009

A quick trip beyond the Vatican’s Holy Office Gate reveals Italy’s continuing pursuit of bella figura. The first space you come to in cramped Vatican City is a car park, but tantalizingly ahead shimmers a piazza with three serene cypress trees. As you pass by, it is shown to be the cleverly concealed entrance to an underground parking garage in front of Pier Luigi Nervi’s Papal Audience Hall.


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