Sunday, October 17, 2010

When in Rome

Well here I am! My flight got in around 8:00 a.m. this morning and I booked it to the train station. There were some very nice people on my flight that I had befriended in the Kennedy airport who let me cut in front of them in the custom's line. Then the custom's officer didn't even look at my passport when he stamped it, because he was was too busy telling me that a beautiful girl like me was bound to love Rome!

The train from the airport was late... the first train broke down and around 9:30 the train finally got moving. I got to the Travesare station around 9:50 with 10 minutes to spare before the Canonization stated. A quick taxi ride landed me close to St. Peter's square but I wasted another 10 minutes going to the wrong entrance. Finally, 15 minutes late, my water bottle was confiscated and I was finally in St. Peter's square with almost a million people. Since I had not arrive in time to honor my ticket, and therefore have a folding chair to sit in, I stood with the thousands of people filling the square and listened for 2.5 hours as the mass rolled on in Latin, English, Italian, and French.

The mass was beautiful. For what ever reason, when the communities of each of the sainted people ascended the steps of St. Peter's and placed a cross on the alter that was set up outside for all to see, I teared up. Smaller reminder to those of you who don't know, I'm not Roman Catholic. Yet this small act of ritual solidarity to a small group of people who tried to make their world better through their belief in God was touching. The Australian/Scottish saint's people put a wooden cross on the alter... the guy dressed in a kilt placed a set of flowers and then nudged them to the right place with his cane. Even the Vatican can be a place of humor. *smile* We got to see a bunch of nun's and bishop's yawning and checking their watches too. Regardless of all this, the ceremony was beautiful and it was breathtaking to be in St. Peter's square with so many people.

There were TV screens on which to see the pope and the deliberations of the mass. However, after taking a bunch of pictures, I had to remind myself that the experience of being here in Rome was beyond the ability to take pictures. To be present at this ritual, and be present at the physical local of great religious history was in itself an experience to be felt and not so much documented. What I share with you are a few of the pictures that I took, but about an hour into it I put my camera away and sat down on the cobble ground of the square. I closed my eyes and listened to the music of the ceremony, the prayers to God, and the solidarity of the people of the world.

1 comment:

  1. After visiting Rome, my thought on the expression "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" was that it was instructions for how to cross the street. In Rome, the traffic is so heavy and so constant, around many of the piazzas, that if you don't cross the street 'en masse' with all the other Romans, you will surely be hit by a car, or a motorcycle, or a vespar... Hence, "do as the Romans do!"
    Have a great time, Rachel, and be sure to have gelato everyday! See the Berninis!!!