Sunday Homilies : Crowds, and avoiding them

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

Today's main object was to get to St. Peter's Square (actually, it's an oval) for the 12 noon Angelus appearance of Pope Francis at the traditional window of the Apostolic Palace -- a tradition which continues despite the fact that Francis doesn't actually live in the Apostolic Palace.  It was cloudy in the morning, but the clouds soon gave way to the typical sunny weather of these parts.  The high was supposed to be 80, and I believe we reached it.  Francis's appearance lasted about 14 minutes.  The crowds in the Square were pretty big, but orderly!  Currently in the Square they have a couple of giant TVs, which are a help because, from the Square, the figure in the window is tiny.  I should also note that the famous colonnade of St. Peter's Square has been restored to a shade of white which I thought was not natural.  Most of the travertine stone of Rome has a brownish cast to it.

After the Angelus, I peeled away from the crowds and had ravioli "alla gorgonzola" (with blue cheese), chicken breast with mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers, and a big salad which I ordered specifically because it contained fennel.  This vegetable resembles celery , but the short description of it is that it "tastes like licorice."  For dessert: pineapple.

Once one acclimates to the concentrated urban environment of Rome, one cannot help but develop a survival/comfort strategy: figuring out routes for avoiding the crowds.  Today I came up with a pretty good route for getting from my hotel to the Vatican: it involved the piazza (square) of the Quirinal Palace.  It worked on my way to the Vatican, but coming back there was a restriction of movement because Army and Navy marching bands were doing what marching bands do.

I found a laundry very close to my hotel, and I will pick up clean clothes tomorrow around noon, alleluia, alleluia!

I am quite pleased with my use of Italian.  I seem to make myself understood, and, just as important, I understand what people are saying to me!   Not bad after 17 years of non-use!

I have come to a conclusion which began to be clear to me in Israel last year.  The traveler's cheque is DEAD.  (Come to think of it, Karl Malden is dead, too.)  I exchanged some on my arrival.  There are limited opportunities to change these, and the commissions are pretty hefty.  It's far more convenient to go to a "Bancomat" and, with a debit card, cause euros galore to emerge!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:59pm CDT