Sunday Homilies

from Father Kevin Laughery, Troy St. Jerome and St. Jacob St. James Parishes, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Note: Comments from this page do not reach me; instead, email:

The Podcasts

Sitting in Fiumicino Airport, I discover that there's free wi-fi.  U.S. airports ought to take a hint.

Some may be wondering whether I got any closer to Pope Francis than St. Peter's Square with him up in the window.  The answer is NO.  Fr. Pedacchio never corresponded with me.To be quite honest, I am pleased that there was NOTHING in the three weeks which resembled work.  Being at a papal affair would certainly have felt like work.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:17am CDT

Today I traveled no further than around the block for a midday meal of prosciutto and melon, fettuccine with sausage and mushroom, roast lamb with potatoes, spinach in butter.  A farewell meal in a country where you can't get a bad meal.

We went off Daylight Saving Time last night.  So now I'm only six hours off from home. 

I have been resting up for tomorrow's trip and using Wikipedia to read up on 1950s and 1960s U.S. TV trivia.

The last three weeks have amounted to a wonderful rest.  Now it's back to work!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:50pm CDT

Earlier today, I took a walk to the Pincio park.  The sky was cloudless and the temperature was hovering around 70.

This evening, Fr. Daren Zehnle, Fr. John Nolan (in Rome for the Institute for Continuing Theological Education), and seminarians Michael Friedel and Dominic Rankin got together for dinner.

Tomorrow is my last day in Rome before I fly back on Monday.

Category:general -- posted at: 5:52pm CDT

Friday is my normal day off, so it's fitting that I didn't do much today.  I sat at the Quirinal Palace for a while, went into the "center" of town, had a leisurely lunch (rigatoni all'amatriciana, pollo alla romana), strolled into the area of Piazza di Spagna, and came back to the hotel.

For old times' sake, I bought an International New York Times.  I used to read its predecessor, the International Herald Tribune, when I lived here.  Of course I have the paper online.  I was interested in seeing its hard-copy format.  With the crossword, there's Jumble, sudoku, Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes. and Peanuts.


Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am CDT

Following yesterday's post, I did some shopping in the Vatican area.  I found a very nice restaurant near my hotel (rigatoni alla carbonara, saltimbocca alla romana, spinach in butter).

This morning as I checked the weather, it was 41F in daylight here, while it was 43F in New Berlin in the dark.  I am reminded of the Italian expression "Fa freddo" which literally means "it makes cold" or "it does cold."  Thursday was a day off for me when I was at the university here.  We'd have classes Monday through Wednesday, then Thursday off, then classes Friday and Saturday, then Sunday off.  No weekends, therefore.  Today was like a typical Thursday in seminary days.  Often I would take a long walk.  Today I had a very nice walk in the Villa Borghese, a big park on the north side of Rome.  Tonight I went back to the same restaurant as yesterday, since I liked it so much (penne all'arrabbiata, steak in pepper sauce).

Category:general -- posted at: 1:51pm CDT

You may be wondering whether I did a gondola ride.  The answer is no, although I did take a water taxi (motorboat) from St. Mark's Square to get to the train station, thus sparing myself a lot of trudging through the city with luggage as on my arrival.

After a night train ride from Venice, with transfer in Verona, I arrived in Rome today at 6  am.  I walked to my hotel (the same one where I had stayed during my first week here), and I was amazed to discover that my room was ready.  At 8 am I took my laundry to the fellow around the block, and at 10 am I had it back.

I'm doing a lot of reading.  I am a fan of Tom Wolfe, and last night I finished I Am Charlotte Simmons -- an uplifting story, if you can stomach the cruelty inflicted on the title character, and the language.  I've started another Sinclair Lewis novel, Cass Timberlane.

Today I am going to see whether I can at least find our two seminarians, Michael Friedel and Dominic Rankin.  Lunchtime at the North American College would be the most likely point of intersection.

Category:general -- posted at: 4:45am CDT

The line for St. Mark's Basilica begins to form well before the 9:45 am opening time.  This being my last full day in Venice, I knew I had to hustle, and I did.  There is in New Berlin an establishment called "Capone's Hideout," with a very eclectic decor, including a poster of "The Horses of San Marco."  These ancient bronzes were on the facade of St. Mark's -- reproductions stand there now -- and the original horses are now in the museum within the walls of the basilica.  To say they are beautiful is a great understatement.  Their beauty is in a way heightened by the awareness of how old they are -- perhaps as many as 1800 years old.

I feel a bit of sadness at departing from Venice, which I look upon as a place of great beauty and mystery.  I will perhaps return, but only with maps of the greatest intricacy.

As I report on yet another evening with spaghetti alla carbonara, this time followed by a pork chop, French fries, and tomato salad, I have been wondering whether my travel-blog is similar to what people do on Twitter, which has never made sense to me, because if you are telling everyone what you are doing, how do you get anything done?  It does seem to make sense to me that the readers of this blog are simply enjoying with me a moment of leisure in surroundings I enjoy very much.  I know you wish for me a good rest before going back to the work which will always be there.  And I thank you.

Tomorrow night, a night train from Venice to Rome (by way of Verona).  I don't anticipate being able to post anything on Tuesday.  Look for the next post Wednesday.

Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm CDT

My shoes hit the pavement about 10:30 am, and I have been out walking around all day.

This afternoon I visited the original "ghetto," that is, the Jewish quarter of Venice.  I took part in a tour which included the German, French, and Sephardic (or "Levantine") synagogues.  Can I help it that the soundtrack in my mind is playing the Elvis song "In the Ghetto"?  

This Sunday is sunny.  I am finding more straight streets and direct routes.  I walked along the lagoon again -- this time with a view of an obviously artificial square island which serves as the city's cemetery.

I did not have the greatest luck with dinner.  Again I had spaghetti alle vongole, which I love, and then fried shrimp and squid.  At this particular restaurant, they were serving something I found unappetizing -- I think it was the heads of the squid.  Whatever it was, everything that looked similar I pushed to the edge of the plate.  Their artichokes were strange, too -- my serving was two discs.  I think of artichokes as being made up of many leaves.  Whatever.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:02pm CDT

I have referred already to the difficult task of navigating the streets of Venice.  I had another experience of this, this afternoon.  

One thing to be said for the streets of Venice is that there are NO CARS.  In fact it's quite a rare thing for any of us these days to have such an experience.

This evening, after penne with four cheeses, roast chicken and fries, and sorbetto al limone, I walked down to St. Mark's Square and discovered that I could walk freely, seeing where I was going, to a great length along the shore of the lagoon.  

Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm CDT

I am in my hotel's lobby, reading the local papers.  There was an accident yesterday, a vaporetto (floating city bus) colliding with a barge, and seven people were hurt.  I was not there.

Category:general -- posted at: 5:14am CDT