Friday, April 29, 2011

I think I'm ready to perform.

I've been alone here at the Casa O'Toole with the other priests gone to Assisi for 5 days.

I spent the time practicing and I think I am ready. There are still passages which will require some serious concentration, but I will manage I think.

I practiced mostly in the mornings and had the afternoons to myself. Yesterday, I went to the Capitoline Museum. It is one of the major municipal museums of Rome. The collections were mostly donated by Italian nobility, Popes, cardinals, and private families. It is fascinating to read about how these sculptures were discovered buried under rubble and revealed when they were doing construction, or excavations of other sites.

I have a few other pictures to post here tonight

The Casa O'Toole, where I have been residing for 3 months.
My room is fourth from the left on the 4th floor.
The seminarians' garden. Grape vines, and assorted vegetables, with tables and chairs for quiet study and rest.
The seminary building. That small box extending from the building towards the playing field is a 300 seat auditorium. Just to give you an idea of the scale of this place.
The road leading up to the Casa O'Toole. The main seminary building is to the right.
Today, after practicing, I walked down to St. Peter's Square. The huge crowds are already in Rome, and more arriving by the hour. The beatification on Sunday will be huge. There are festivities starting already. The Circus Maximus, the site of the ancient Roman track, will the site tomorrow night of a candlelight vigil. The square is already buzzing with activity. There a lift trucks, moving equipment, technicians of all kinds working to get everything set up. Huge banners are haging from the colonade. I don't know if my pictures will be adquate but here goes.

This is the scaffolding covering the restoration project of Bernini's colonade. Even that is decorated.
The huge portrait of John Paul II beside one of his frequent sayings, "Splancate le porte a Cristo", (Open wide the doors for Christ)
The altar being prepared.

The view of the altar I will hopefully have on Sunday morning.

The section of seating for priests.
Look for me somewhere in here.
As I walked around St. Peter's Square, I came across and exhibit that I did not know was going to happen. Pope Benedict XVI sponsored this exhibit of memoribilia of Pope John Paul II. It was a great exhibit including some of his books, letters, and films of him as a young priest on camping trips. There are going to be some very unusual relics of this new blessed man, and God willing, new saint.

Pope John Paul II's kayak.
His skis, daypack and waterbottle.
His bicycle. It was right out in the open, atteched to the wall. But people could grab the handlebars, and many rubbing the leather seat.
The prie-dieu and painting of Jesus from his private chapel.
The cope and stole he wore when he opened the jubilee door in the year 2000.
As the line moved through the exhibit, there was book for prayer intentions. So I stood in line to make an entry.

I'm not sure how this book will be used, but a prayer intention for me, my family, and St. John Neumann Parish is now included among the hundreds of thousands of other prayers that will fill this book.
I'm Glad this picture came out.

It's a busy weekend coming up. Although the beatification of Pope John Paul II was not part of the original ICTE agenda, it is a terrific way to bring this portion of my sabbatical experience to a close. One of the many unexpected treats of this six months.