Tuesday, July 8, 2015
Once more, we returned to St. Peter's Basilica for a 7:00 a.m. Mass, this time with Msgr. Fucinaro, a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, currently serving in Rome. Our prayerful introduction to the day continued following Mass, since we had ample time for private prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Basilica.
Mid-morning we were privileged to receive a guided tour through the Vatican Mosaic Studio by Carla, one of the eleven artists serving there. To our surprise we learned that all but one of the "paintings" in St. Peter's are in fact mosaics! Our guide showed us an immensity of neatly cataloged mosaic chips of every conceivable color - the small (sometimes tiny) building blocks of exquisite works destined for one of three recipients: St. Peter's itself, visiting dignitaries or private patrons. An average piece, Carla explained, takes about three months to complete. At the close of our time together, she presented each of us with a mosaic chip as a souvenir of our tour, asking us in turn for our prayers. Following this she led us over to St. Peter's to view her own masterpiece: a large mosaic of the Sacred Heart. On the way over Carla almost casually pointed out the entrance to a not particularly impressive building immediately next to the Vatican Mosaic Studio. "That's where the Holy Father lives," she informed us. "We see him coming to work every day."
|The mosaic of the Sacred Heart in St. Peter's Basilica that our talented guide restored.|
|Front door to Pope Francis' home!|
When we re-convened back at Domus in the afternoon, Mother Regina Pacis, SFMG, presented a university-level lecture on Rome of the first centuries A.D.,with an emphasis on its wavering attitude to nascent Christianity. As she explained, the approach of the various Emperors towards the emerging Church during its early years varied from a kind of "Let sleeping dogs lie" philosophy to one of persecution of inconceivable brutality. All this to set the stage for our "Ancient Rome" walking tour tomorrow.
Rounding off our greatly enriching (albeit quite warm) day, we Sisters walked the short distance from our temporary home at Domus to the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere ("across the Tiber"). There Sr. Margaret, an English Benedictine, kindly led us on a fascinating tour of the church, underground chapel and remains of the home of one of the earliest and most venerated of martyrs. St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, you remained faithful to Jesus your Beloved in the face of family rejection and the fury of a state which could not tolerate your preferential choice for Christ. Pray for us, that we, too, may have the courage to cling to Him alone in our own hour of testing. Amen.
|Newly discovered ancient tiles after a fairly recent flood.|