Thanks for your prayers
Italians in general, and Rome in specific, are not known for their efficiency, and while in the story that follows you will see a glimpse of what I am talking about, that so much got done in such a short amount of time really is a miracle. After Sunday night at my sister’s, Monday flights from Milwaukee to Chicago to London to Rome got me to Rome Tuesday afternoon. Upon arrival in Rome, I took a walk to get over jetlag to one of Rome’s major basilicas, and my favorite basilica now named St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major. I went to confession, because it had been a couple of weeks, and I prayed at the relics contained there. Mary Major houses the relics of the manger from the stable in Bethlehem, an image of Mary thought to have been painted by St. Luke the Gospel-writer, and the remains of St. Pope Pius V. After a quick lap around the basilica, I went to a nearby church and prayed at the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – not only because I am in need of help perpetually, but also because I have a particular devotion to that image. That image of our Lady (that’s the one with Jesus’ shoe falling off his foot) has followed me around for a number of years. That evening I joined for Mass a group of college seminarians studying for a semester in Rome and then a priest friend for dinner. I watched the packers’ highlights before drifting off to sleep. Wednesday morning I got up early and after my prayers went to the library to get work done. I thought the library opened at 8:00 am. I was wrong. When the library opened at 8:30, I greeted the librarian, whom I know, in the library, of which I have given tours, and found out that over the summer the university had cancelled me as a student. The librarian refused to let me enter. We figured the problem was that I hadn’t yet paid my bills. When I went to pay my bills, I found the offices closed until 9:30. Ugh. I moved to a different library. When I finished my initial work, I went to get the 750 pages printed in order to hand them to my professor who has to read it one more time. While they were printing, I went to pay bills. What I discovered was that the university wasn’t billing me correctly, and that subsequently, there were a couple more lines to stand in and people to talk to. The bills are now paid. Wednesday afternoon, I went back to the original library and was allowed to enter. I worked until I was scheduled to have Mass at the tomb of my favorite saint, St. Philip Neri with a group of students from the University of Dallas. On the way, I ran into the bishop of Madison, Fr. Felix and his group from the area, and priest friends who were also visiting Rome. Mass, a walk around the city, and dinner with the Dallas students concluded the day. Thursday was the ordination to the diaconate of two from the area – Joseph Baker and Daniel Sedlacek. I somehow ended up in the sanctuary at the altar of the chair (named after the pieces of Peter the Apostle’s chair contained in the sculptor hanging above the altar). I had a good view of our bishop, all the ordinandi (those men to be ordained), many of whom were my students last year, and Cardinal Dolan who celebrated the Mass. It was so edifying to see the men ordained, filled with joy, ready and willing to offer themselves in service to Christ and his Church. The graces from that Mass will last me a long time. After Mass, I returned to the library to finish up the last modifications to my footnotes with books that I hadn’t been able to find in libraries around here. Thursday evening, I did some necessary liturgical shopping. Dinner was with newly-minted Deacon Sedlacek and his family. On Friday, with flights from Rome to Charlotte to Philadelphia to Milwaukee, I was back at my sister’s Saturday morning and drove back to Chippewa. In other words: bills are paid, foot notes are completed, ordination was attended, shopping was successful and the doctorate is ready for the defense in Feb. Not bad for a little over 60 hrs. in Rome-thanks to your prayers. Adult Faith Formation: we will continue viewing of Symbolon on Wed. 6-7; be attentive in case we change the times. Men’s Group: Men’s group will meet Thursday, 5-6 .