Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roma Day 1

So day one of the Rome trip was a whirlwind. We got of the plane around 7am which was about 1am New York time so suffice to say we were all sorts of wacky.  Most of us were tired but Fr. Geno had the we'll beat the jet lag by staying busy all day plan and that's what we did.  We couldn't check into the hotel until the afternoon so the morning was spent on a bus tour of Rome.  After the bus tour we stopped at St. Paul's Outside the Walls at that is the Basilica that the Evangelization Center is sort of named for.  After Mass, which was ad orientem, meaning the priests faced the same way as the people, we spent time looking around St. Paul's and then went to a local shrine.  The Shrine of Divine Love is just one of those local churches that people have left candles, canes, crutches, etc at as signs of the miracles that happened.  The old shrine is your stereotypical old school church the new shrine is your stereotypical ugly modern in the round church.  After the shine we went to lunch at a wonderful restaurant across the streets from the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, of which we would have gone into but we opted to go to the hotel instead.  I've been to the Catacombs so it wasn't that big of a deal for me to miss it.  I was impressed that my memory still worked after 10 years from the last trip to Rome.  We go to the hotel, relaxed, showered, and went off on a walking tour of Rome.  We got a taste of the speed for which the trip/pilgrimage would be moving at.  Fr. Geno having studied over there took us over back roads and side roads to the Casa Santa Maria, which is where the American priests stay when they are getting their doctorate or second masters degrees.  The Casa which I have seen before held a surprise for us, we were meeting Fr. John who had our Papal Audience tickets for us.  Fr. John was the surprise, as he spent so much time showing us around Rome and giving us tours of pretty much every place we were.  Not that Fr. Geno didn't but Fr. John was over in Rome for his seminary years and for his doctorate years and an official Vatican tour guide.  "Nothing but the best for the Paterson Diocese." Fr. John gave a "tour" of the chapel in the Casa, I remember the SHU group having Mass at the Casa, but I honestly don't remember the chapel.  After we left the Casa we walked back to the hotel.  I say walk, but at the speed Fr. Geno and Fr. John walk at it was more of a jog back to the hotel.  We stopped at the Fountain de Trevi, a must see stop when in Rome.  We also stopped for dinner and gelato on the way back.  In between Trevi and the hotel we saw the Pantheon and I remembered Fr. Holmes from SHU telling us about how amused he was that the McDonald's across the square from the Pantheon had a sign above that basically said something about not commercializing the place.  I think he would be happy to know that said McDonald's looked like it was closed and out of business.  We got back to the hotel and Fr. John revealed the suprise that was in the suitcase he was wheeling around, t-shirts for all of us.  We were given t-shirts that he or someone in his youth ministry program had designed as a fundraiser.  The t-shirts all revolved around John Paul II and his upcomming beatification that we all just happened to be over there for.  Thus ends day one.  What follows are a few of the pictures I took on day one, if you wish to see more visit my facebook album which has more details and comments. On our walk through Rome we saw many of the classic sites and a few others one.  We went to a church that had the tomb of St. Monica in it and we had a nice little prayer service for our moms.  Most of the trip is a blur and what stands out now will be what matters the most to me.  Fr. Geno on Mother's day  spoke about our side trip to the tomb of St. Monica so that's why I remember it more now, but the entire trip was simply amazing and awesome.  
Starting the Day leaving the airport.   
Fr. Geno leading us in prayer.  
Why was the first thing I saw a McDonald's 
The gas stations were literally on the side of the road. 
We saw a Burger King too.  
Me thinks there might have been something going on while we were there.  
"Rats with wings" or pigeons as they are known. 
There were literally signs for the Beatification  every where. 
Fr. Geno telling us about the Circus Maximus. 
A classic Roman sign.  
The Wedding Cake or the Victor Emmanuel Monument. 
St. Paul's Outside the Wall. 
Mass :) 
Inside St. Paul's. 
An old school confessional.  
A Holy Water Font.
Part of the ceiling. 

A somewhat modern window. 

The classic St. Paul's shot. 
The Shrine of Divine Love.
Some of the candles and signs acknowledging the miracles that had happened. 
The old shrine with a funeral going on.   There is a new shrine, but it's a modern ugly church.  ;) 

Castle San Angelo. 
Bridge of the Holy Angels.  
One of the sights on the walk/run through Rome. 
The Mary Statue at the Casa Santa Maria. 
St. Therese is my favorite saint and I almost always find a statue or some sign of /from her when I travel.
Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Chapel at the Casa. 
Part of the ceiling in the chapel. 
No trip is complete without a trip to Trevi Fountain

The Pantheon.
The ceiling, yes the one with the hole, in the Pantheon.
Tomb of St. Monica
Some of the painting in the church. 
A portion of the ceiling in the church. 
Our t-shirts from Fr. John. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Changes at St. Anthony's

If you look back on my blogs you will see that I often blogged about the homilies that I heard.  That stopped about a year ago when Fr. Brian was moved to a new parish.  Congrats to Fr. Brian on being officially made pastor of St. Joseph's.  The new assignments were in The Beacon this week.

Last Sunday, not the past Sunday, Pentecost, but the Sunday before, our current pastor Msgr. Martin told us at the end of all the Masses that he would be leaving.  The speech, typed and read to us, not that I mind that, it just struck me as odd as the other priests to leave our parish did their speech off the cuff shall we say.  It read like a "it's you, not me" letter and I can say while I am sad to have another priest leave, I'm not nearly as upset as I was when others left.  Best of luck to Fr. Martin in his new parish.  Onto the exciting news for St. Anthony's not Holy Family as they are losing their pastor, but we're getting Msgr. Raymond Kupke as our new pastor.  While I do not know Msgr. Kupke personally I do know of him from Seton Hall and everyone who does know him is really excited for us.  I am excited for us too as it will be a welcome change.

Msgr. Martin is a wonderful man and priest just not my style, he was a very hands off pastor as in you're in charge of the ministry you run it, I trust you, I don't need to be there.  A very drastic change from the last pastor who was very much hands on.

Not only are we getting a new pastor, but we are getting a second vicar.  We will now have Fr. Luis-Carlos (who's mom is in critical condition in Columbia, the country not the hospital in NY, she and he could do with some prayers) we are getting. Fr. Roberto, who is Cuban, and newly ordained.  It will be interesting to have two "hispanic" priests in the parish.  I hope that both of them stay for a while as it's nice to finally get to know Fr. Luis after what is almost a year and I do look forward to getting to know the new guys as well.

Oh well, to each his own, St. A's is about to change for the good and I'm excited.  Please keep the parish and our priests in your prayers.


So I have mentioned St. Paul's Inside the Wall the Diocesan Evangelization Center at Bayley-Ellard aka St. Paul's before.  I am a part of their young adult group among many other "groups" down there.  On Easter Monday about 30 of us from the center went to Rome with Fr. Geno. I should have known he was going over there for something other than to just show us Rome.  Turns out FG as I affectionately call Fr. Geno was presenting to Archbishop Fisichella, the president of Pope Benedict's Council for Evangelization, on our lovely center.  FG decided to have the young adults come along for a pilgrimage to Rome, so when I got the info on the trip I thought about not going for a few minutes and then made the ultimate decision to say how many times will I get the chance to go to Rome. Part of my hesitation was that I really didn't know most of the people going, but that changed as I forced myself to go to more of the young adult events down at St. Paul's.  The trip was simply amazing.  I will try to do it justice by sharing what happened.  

This trip to Rome would be my 3rd and more than likely not my last visit to Rome.  We flew out on Easter Monday and came home on May 2nd, yes the trip included the Beatification of John Paul the 2nd.  Since coming home from Rome I've been doing a fair bit of thinking and reflecting.  I realized that I don't blog nearly as much as I used to and I think part of that stems from having a smart phone where I can check facebook, twitter, and gmail at the blink of an eye.  I also attribute it to the lack of stellar homilies I have gotten at the home parish, though more to come on that one yet.

Rome this time was bittersweet as every place we went I thought of my last two trips and who was with me and how I really only talk to one person out my set group of friends from that trip.  My former, yes former, best friend is no longer talking to me.  When I feel like giving those details I will, I'm not up for it yet.

So I have not fallen off the face of the earth, I've just had nothing to blog about so.  So I'm going to turn the next few entries into photo blog entries.  I'll do each day of the trip in it's own blog they way I did for my picture albums on facebook.

Some highlights of the trip... the papal audience, meeting Fr. John, being at the Angelicium, the JP2 vigil and being in Rome for the Beatification of JP2.  I'll blog more on those later.