Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Orders of Knighthood of the Holy See: Order of Pius IX and Order of St. Gregory the Great

A tremendous honor to hold a papal order of knighthood. 

Vatican Bank

Casa Santa Maria

This was the old Pontifical North American College in Rome, aka the little house on Humility Street.  It was founded by Blessed Pius IX, and established just down the street from his summer residence on the Quirinale.  It was originally an Ursuline Convent.  The small chapel, with icon of Our Lady of Humility, is my favorite in Rome.  

In the 1950s, Cardinal Spellman had a new seminary constructed for North Americans, closer to the Vatican.  It was a good move.  They kept this property as graduate house of studies for North American clergy.  The only religious house in Rome where you are served real eggs for breakfast every morning.   

I have fond memories of staying here as a guest twice in the 1990s, along with my brother.  The generous Christian hospitality shown to us was something I will be grateful for - for the rest of my life.  Everyone was so gracious.  It was Christmastime.  Defining moments in my life.  I could feel the presence of God and still feel it every time I enter this property.  My boyhood confessor was a student here in the 1930s, Fr. Richard T. O'Connor, ordained in 1937.  He had graduated from high school with my grandfather in 1929.  Saints before us and saints among us.  Thank You, Lord, for the kindness shown to me by priests, Your ministers at the altar.   

Monday, September 29, 2014

Swiss Guard Fountain in the Vatican

Constructed under the reign of Pius XI -- commemorating the Swiss Guard's gallant defense of the tomb of St. Peter and of Peter himself, during the tragic sack of Rome in 1527.  Only 42 members of the Swiss Guard survived, along with the Pope himself, due to the heroic bravery of the rearguard which ensured that Pope Clement VII was able to escape to safety. 

Militibus Helvetiorum Custodiae Palatinae Qui Summum Defendentes Pontificem Pridie Nonas Maias A. MDXXVII Gloriose Ceciderunt.  Patria Memor.  

Laurel Leaves in the Roman Forum: Laurus Nobilis

The aromatic laurel leaf: a symbol of victory.  A great ornamental plant as well as an interesting traditional medicine. 

Study in Rome with the Dominicans

Serving Mass in the Crypt of St. Peter's Basilica

Yours truly serving Holy Mass in the Vatican grottoes.

Always an honor.

To be Christ's page at the altar.

To hear the whispers and chants of numerous Masses at other altars.

To pray amid the tombs of the Roman Pontiffs.  

Many thanks for the pic, Bao! 

Bishop Martyrs

Popes and other bishops who have gone before us.  Pray for us.

Photo taken in Amalfi Cathedral. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Swiss Guardsman Awarded Medals

Awards of service conferred under different pontificates. 

Always an honor to protect, defend, serve.

Fontana della Barcaccia

Completed in AD 1627.

Now newly restored.

The genius of Bernini. 

In 1598 there was a bad flood in Rome and when the water withdrew in this piazza, a sunken boat was left, now forever depicted in stone.

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr

One of five Orders of Knighthood granted by the Holy Father. 

You can read more here:


Head of St. John the Baptist in Rome

Located in a side chapel of San Silvestro in Capite.

Caput Sti. Joannis Baptistae Praecursoris Domini.

Chapel of the Casa Santa Maria

The original Pontifical North American College, located on the Via del Umilta'. 

Order of Malta in the Forum of Augstus

This is where local members attend Sunday Mass, in a very beautiful and austere chapel known as the Grillo Church (open for 11 a.m. Mass on Sundays).   For years Mons. Manzetti celebrated this Mass as rector of the Chapel of the Knights of Rhodes.  A fine man, you can read his story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azelio_Manzetti.

Tomb of St. John Paul II in the Vatican

Our group had morning Mass here.  Was very special.  Especially for those who had met and known him.  One lady in our group had stayed with Pope John Paul II as his guest at his summer villa at Castel Gandolfo, along with a select group of other youth from around the world, during the Holy Year 2000 celebrations. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Orbis Catholicus Travel in the Vatican

Some members of our group in the Scala Regia of the Apostolic Palace for a behind the scenes tour.  Was terrific!  Thank you to our friends in the Vatican who arranged for this privilege, as well as to everybody from Canada for joining this fabulous tour!  We had a great mix of pilgrims - including five physicians.  One of our participants was last in Italy in 1951.  Another was in Rome for the first time in 1960.  And some were seeing Rome and Italy for the first time.  A wonderful group of travelers and so many blessings we had.  WE look forward to the next trip! 

For upcoming tours, see here and join us:   http://oc-travel.com/upcoming-tours/.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vatican Radio

Getting interviewed on Vatican Radio is a lot of fun.  So is the VIP tour that comes with it.  Greetings from Radio Vaticana!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What the Bacchetta del Penitenziere Looked Like

Abolished in 1967.

Seen today in crypt of St. Mary Major.  

The confessors at the Lateran. St. Peter's, St. Mary Major and St. Paul's had these. 

April 29, 1967, they were done away with.  A very rare sight.  

Summer Habit in Rome

Friday, September 19, 2014

Feast of San Gennaro (St. Januarius) in Naples

Today our group had front row seats to see this truly remarkable miracle - the annual liquefaction of the blood of the patron saint of Naples.

Plan on being in Naples Cathedral for 10 am Mass any Sept. 19 to see and experience this event.  And come back at 4 pm when they allow you to get in line and actually reverence the relic. 

In the photo you can see here the liquid blood, kept inside the ampoule.

Martyred under the reign of Diocletian, the blood was preserved by the local Christian community.

You can read the inspiring story of St. Gennaro here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Januarius.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

7th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum Celebration in Rome

Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross.

Sung Mass at Trinita' dei Pellegrini and lunch in Trastevere.

Participants came from Italy, France, India, Vietnam, USA, Canada, Britain, Scotland, etc.

A toast was made in honor of the Pope.

Titular Church of Cardinal Sarto (Pius X): San Bernardo

San Bernardo alle Terme, an abbatial church. 

Christian Martyrs

St. Vittoria seen at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. 

Cardinal von Gallen in Rome

At his titular church of St. Bernardino. 

Where Romans Pray for Peace: Ave Regina Pacis!

St. Mary Major statue for the faithful to venerate...

From the Sacristy at St. Mary Major

Celebrate this Mass as though it were your first, only, last. 

Rome's Oldest Elevator

St. Regis lift from 1894, seen at the Le Grand Hotel.  So much history here.  Designed and built by Cesar Ritz.  Motioned originally by a hydraulic pump system by utilizing water from the adjacent 16the century Moses fountain.   

Piazza Barberini

With the Hotel Bernini Bristol.

Archbishop Sheen often dined here at the rooftop restaurant.