A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Tu es Petrus..." (Rome 2010 - 4/9)

I'm sitting in the nave at St. Peter's, waiting for the Pallium Mass to start. St. Peter's Basilica Archbishop Wenski is one of 38 archbishops from around the world receiving a pallium from the Holy Father today. The archbishop held Mass here yesterday, and beforehand we got to wander around a bit and take pictures. There was a sweeper driving around here keeping the floor clean - it looked like a miniature zamboni.

St. Peter's is quite huge, and also makes much use of marble and bronze. Where St. Maria Maggiore was vividly decorated, St. PeteZamboni cleaning St. Peter's Basilicar's is primarily white and gold,with more muted tones used in the marble.

Yesterday's Mass with the Archbishop was actually a capella, because the musicians had gone with the other half of the group to Assisi. Since we'd been to Assisi in the past, we opted to stay in Rome. We had a large block of free time yesterday, so DD and I wandered around a bit through St. Peter's Square and around. Lesson learned: don't buy from the vendors directly near the square - they charge outrageous prices, and a block's walk can get the same items for half the price. If it's water you want, there are public fountains all over, free-flowing and surprisingly cold. Quite refreshing!

Street fountain
Yesterday evening we attended Vespers at St.Paul-outside-the-Walls, celebrated by the Holy Father. Seating was 90 minutes beforehand, and security was pretty tight. The choicest seats were right beside the aisle, and we managed to sit two seats in from there. We got a very nice glimpse of the Holy Father as he passed by. He seems a bit on the short side, but at 83 that's perhaps to be expected. He did seem to be in good spirits.

Vespers was in Latin, although the prayers and readings were in other languages - each intercession in the Prayers of the Faithful was in a different language. Everyone in the congregation got a booklet to follow along and participate, and it makes a good keepsake. B16 at VespersPope Benedict XVI has a nice cadence to his speaking voice, especially during his homily. Many of the Mass and prayer parts are sung, especially in Latin, and either he is a merely adequate singer, or his voice isn't well-suited to Gregorian chant. Or it could be age - the oldest priest at our parish is of similar age and vocal quality.

St.Paul's looks even better with the lights on inside, and I could see details I'd missed the day before. One neat feature it has is portraits of all of the successors of Peter, running clockwise around the nave, with the current pope's portrait always lit.

After Vespers, we walked to Trastevere, about 45 minutes from the hotel. We ate at Taverna de Mercanti, a very nice restaurant across from St. Cecilia's. I had a mixed grill with chicken, quail, pork, beef and lamb, and a very good house wine. For the most part, you can't go wrong with just having the house wine in Italy. I've discovered that the reduced effect I see from Italian wines is because most don't contain sulfites. Why would they, when wine is so prevalent that it doesn't need preservation?

(Virtual tour of St. Peter's Basilica)

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