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.
Oct. 24, 2006
You get a sampling of the kinds of people who come to Rome when giving out the tickets to the papal audience. For some, the trip is a culmination of a lifetime of anticipation, for others it is another city to be “bagged” and seeing the pope is part of it. Some want to get there very early for the “best seat” and others “sneak in” for a glimpse of the pageantry…whatever your reasons, you are welcome to go and see.
Nov. 3, 2006
Just before I arrived in Rome, I met an industrial psychologist who was a Christian but now follows a Native American practice. He told me that, when he went to the Vatican, sunbeams from the dome of the church hit Michelangelo’s Pieta and brought tears to his eyes. I replied that this was the intention of the “new” St. Peter’s – to re-instill religious fervor, as a response to the Protestant Reformation. A similar drama unfolds in the churches housing white marble statues of certain female saints: Bernini’s Blessed Ludovica Albertoni in San Francesco a Ripa and his St. Teresa in Ecstasy in Santa Maria della Vittoria, Maderna’s depiction of St. Cecila just after martyrdom at her church in Trestevere and Saint Anastasia by Ercole Ferrata and Francesco Aprile near the Circus Maximus. All these sculptures boldly ask visitors to “go further” in your devotion.