Sunday, October 31, 2010

At Home in Rome

October 31, 2010

PEace and Good,

Well, I arrived in Rome on the 27th of October, just in time to celebrate my feast day in my new friary. I am living in the general curia near the Basilica of Santi'Apostoli - the Church of the Holy Apostles. The bodies of Ss Philip and James are the major relics in the Church, brought back by the crusaders (which is a nicer way than saying that they were robbed from the Eastern Church in some of the ugliness that characterized the crusades).

This Tuesday I will be attending my first definitory. This is a meeting of the council of Assistant Generals and the Minister General. We have three assistant generals for Europe, one for North America, one for Latin America, one for Africa nd one for Asia.

I have begun to explore Rome a bit already. Today I went to the Church of the Gesu. This is the headquarters of the Jesuits, and it is only a couple of blocks from where I live. The Church is a masterpiece of Baroque. That is not my favorite art style. I prefer the Gothic which is simple and clean. In the baroque, sometimes it seems as if the heavens are vomiting cute little angels all over the place.

The church was dedicated just after the Council of Trent, and it shows a few of the changes in theology effected at the council. There is no narthex or entranceway. One walks directly into the body of the church. The idea was that no one should be able to hide away in the entranceway of the church during Mass and chat away while Mass was going on. For a similar reason, there are no side aisles. The Church is one large open expanse. There are major relics there of St. Ignatius (his body), St. Francis Xavier (his arm - the rest of his body is in India where he was a missionary), the body of St. Joseph Pignatelli, and the arm of St.Andrew Bobola (I still don't understand why we Catholics cut the bodies up, I just don't find it respective to the remains.)

I live on the 4th floor of my buiilding (which in American buildings would be considered to be the 5th floor because here they count the first floor as the ground floor). There is a beautiful terrazza outside of my room which I can walk upon for my daily walk. (It beats the heck out of trying to dodge tourists in the streets.)
It's odd, one part of me feels everything is new and confusing, and the other feels as if I have always been here.)

I have finished a few books. The first was a CD of Deep Black, Dark Zone by Stephen Coontz. This is not really a recommended one. It was a cheap attempt at a spy novel about the bombing of the Chunnel (the train running under the English Channel) and the Eiffel Tower.

I finished Magic Terror by Peter Straub. This was a collection of truly disturbing short stories. Some of them were ghost stories, other murder stories. I did not so much enjoy as get through it.

I also finsihed a set of tapes called Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman. This was the story of a young American who went to China to teach English and studied martial arts with one of the best experts in the world. It was well written. I'm not sure at all that the experiences would be the same (although some of the beaucratic stories are still valid in many parts of the world, including Italy), but is was good. He even draws a connection between the discipline required to become a good caligrapher and doing martial arts which requires a thoughful and artistic stance.

I'll be here in Rome for the week and then back to the States next Mohday.

Take care and Shalom
fr. Jude

PS I am not that good of a speller, and unfortunately when I write this blog in Italy and try spell check, every English word comes up as misspelled. I'll do the best I can, but please forgive any mistakes.

1 comment:

  1. Vomiting angels is a good description of Baroque. When you go to Spain, Father, DO NOT GO into churches of the Churriguresco style. It is Baroque gone manic. It is horrendous. Amen on the relics. I have a really hard time with them.
    Adelaida, SFO