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I have never been a consistent blogger. Or a consistent anything, except maybe a consistent lover of chocolate? And also Lucas? Anyway, I bring you this post to say that Lucas and I are well into wedding planning now, thanks to my dear mother and “futuristic mother-in-law,” as Lucas’s mother likes to be called, and many friends who have dedicated their time, talent, and enthusiasm to bring me out of too-many-decisions paralysis. Invitations have not gone out yet, but they will be sent out late next week. We are keeping our wedding pretty small, with just family and close friends. We’re really looking forward to it, while we try to focus on preparing for the rest of our lives, not just one day.
Updates: Continue reading
- My view at Mass in St. Peter’s this morning for Palm Sunday.
- The ever-stylish Swiss guard uniform.
- Swiss Guard shoes.
- This is how close I was to my beloved Papa! Must have been five feet away when he processed through the aisle after Mass. I got to see his kind, grandfatherly smile as he reached out his hand to us as he was passing by, just seconds before I took the shot.
- The Museo Nazionale di Castel Saint’Angelo
- Just the friendly neighborhood Roman Centurion. (Rory?)
- Me, down by the river in front of the Angelus bridge.
- One of those cool exterior wall art display things that are all over the city.
- Street sign on the way to the Villa Sacchetti (the women’s residence, above the crypt of St. Josemaria)
- A puppy we passed by on the way! He was so nice, and very eager to say hi to me!
- The exterior of Santa Maria del Popolo, which looks like it is kind of falling apart, but is an absolute treasure trove on the inside.
- The main altar at S. Maria del Popolo, which was gorgeous, but is kind of outdone by its left side altar, where there was no photography allowed (but here’s one I found online), because it is home to two original Caravaggio paintings! (The Crucifixion of St. Peter, and the Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus)
- The obelisk with heiroglyphics in the center of the Piazza del Popolo
- Closer look at the Latin text at the base of the obelisk
- Entrance to the Piazza del Popolo, as seen from the center.
- The cobblestone streets, which are pretty, but kill your feet, and are probably slippery when it rains.
Initials of specific intentions I prayed for at the papal Mass and various chapels today: TLS, KJS, SMS, LEB, DAF, JCF, SLS, JLS, AL, BSL, TL, CSJ, and all my deceased family members.
This has been a very long day, and breakfast tomorrow is at 6:30, so I’ll try to make this as brief as possible. Here is a small selection of the 74 photos I took today in Rome. My flight landed at 8:30am, and I didn’t sleep very well on the plane, so I’ve pretty much been awake for three days. But I got a second (or third or fourth…) wind when I beheld the beauty and vitality of this city. A short description of the pictures, in gallery order:
- Looking up at the columns and statues that line the sides of St. Peter’s Square. Note the exceptionally beautiful weather.
- The stairs and outdoor altar area of St. Peter’s, where we will be at Palm Sunday Mass tomorrow! It will probably be decorated more at that time.
- I can’t believe my camera captured this gorgeous lighting decently. I don’t need to describe to you how beautiful that view was, except to say that it took my breath away, as it was my first glance at the interior of St. Peter’s.
- A photo that does no justice to the Holy Spirit stained glass window behind the back altar.
- Another photo of the same stained glass window, with a better view of the surrounding area, but still no definition on the window itself. I kept trying to get that shot right because it’s my favorite thing in the world, probably.
- “I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple,” and a mosaic of Pope John Paul II’s episcopal heraldry, on the drinking fountain.
- My Camelbak capturing the water from the right side of the temple! I never knew plain water could taste so smooth and sweet as the water does here in Rome. I half expected it to be dirty city water, but it tastes so fresh.
- Another shot of the outside of St. Peter’s.
- This is where the Pope lives!
Phase One of the jet-lag prevention strategy is underway. I’m staying up all night and during my first flight in hopes that I will be able to sleep on the second, longer flight and wake up when we land in Rome in the morning. It’s 5am EST, so the sun should be rising soon. I actually love this part of all-nighters, when the whole world seems to be asleep–even on a busy college campus. There’s a gentle hush over the city, with just the sounds of the trains and the few cars of commuters going to their crack-of-dawn jobs or home from night shifts. In a few hours, I’ll go to the early morning Mass on campus (because why not?) and stop at the store for a few last-minute items before heading out to the airport. Even though all my bags are packed, and I’m ready to go (name that song!), this trip doesn’t seem real to me yet. I suspect it won’t seem real until I’m on the plane, or until I step onto Rome’s cobblestone streets amid the structures both ancient and modern, and breathe the Mediterranean air.
P.S. I’m still taking prayer requests. The list is sizable, but I have an organization strategy by which I hope to give as much attention and prayer as I can to each individual intention.
I’m leaving tomorrow for my pilgrimage to Rome!! Right now I’m packing, which obviously includes packing for my physical and academic needs, but for this particular trip also means packing my spiritual “bags” with prayer intentions of my relatives and friends that I will take with me to all the Masses we will be attending. If you have any intentions, don’t forget to email me, or text me, or comment here if you are comfortable doing that. As long as I have it in some written medium, your intentions will make their way to my list, and to Rome during the holiest week of the year. I’m hoping to be able to blog every night, with stories and pictures, and if I do, I’ll include at the bottom of each post the initials of people whose intentions were remembered at Mass that day.
In honor of my resolution to enjoy music again, I’ve been singing some of my favorite songs for fun. It is SO refreshing to make music outside of work again. And with my handy dandy MacBook (hah), I made you a recording of a favorite song of Lucas and I. I like it because it allows me to combine my love for both Paul Simon and Johann Sebastian Bach. In case you don’t know, it combines these two because the melody is taken from Bach’s Passion Chorale “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O head full of blood and wounds)”, which he uses in the St. Matthew Passion and again in the Christmas Oratorio. I used to think, “oh, how ironic it is that Paul Simon’s ‘American Tune’ isn’t even an American tune.” But recently I have realized that borrowing something from a different culture and calling it “American” is oh so Yankee. So it’s totally American now, anyway. And then Lucas informed me that not only did Paul Simon borrow it from Bach: Bach also borrowed it from an obscure German love song that was actually in 3/4. So it started out as this very, very secular song by someone about whom nobody cares anymore, and became this poignant chorale of devotion to Christ’s suffering and death.
[This is by NO means a professional recording; just part of my practice session. I used my built-in laptop speakers and recorded it in my dorm room, hence the bit of distant background noise of doors slamming near the beginning.]
Good news, Internet people! I received an email earlier this evening informing me that the paper I submitted to this year’s UNIV Congress in Rome has been selected to be presented at the conference! So not only am I going to the Eternal City during the holiest week of the year, I also get to talk to some sort of audience there about one of my favorite things ever, Gregorian chant! So now I guess I have to figure out what to say. I heard a speaker once (the philosopher Alastair McIntyre) read an essay of his out loud to us, pausing every so often to engage us in discussion about the content. I think that format could work for my paper, and I’m more than happy to get feedback so that I can really get to the issues my audience wants to hear about. I’d love to hear what you think about that format, or if you have any other ideas.
The title of this post is the title of my paper. It is a quote from St. Augustine and translates “He who chants well prays twice”. You can read the whole paper here. If you’re thinking, “I want to know what you wrote about, but I don’t want to read NINE WHOLE PAGES”, no problem! Just read my abstract, posted below. I’ll keep you all updated on my trip and such. There will be plenty to write about.