Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Roman Fever

I have been lucky enough to visit Rome three times in my life. The last was with my wife when we managed to have our first holiday without the children for eight years. It was only a few weeks ago that we returned on 30th. Sept.. If you haven't been GO!! It's a must see, especially if you are a Christian of any tradition. Our pilgrimage was a holiday too in the true sense of the word. Three visits to St. Peter's (San Pietro) in the four night stay because our Bed and Breakfast, which was more like an apartment really, was round the corner from the Vatican. We walked everywhere, the weather was 28C and we visited all the seven Basilicas, five in one day!! We had been determined to travel the quite far distance, comparatively, to pray at St. Paul's outside the Walls where the tomb of the Apostle to the Gentiles has been verified as 1st. century. Wow!! was it worth the noisy metro journey. When you walk out onto the street from the station you arrive in a poor run-down area with cranes leaning over building sites that have lost their workers years ago in stagnation. Empty of people and very few pilgrims one can't help feeling that Paul is being left out and in the shadow of his chief brother Apostle, Peter. Inside the Basilica is calm, quiet, prayerful, majestic and beautiful.Quite appropriate and impressive for the memory and housing of Paul. Personally I am a big fan of Peter too ( and curiously his most modern successor! ). However we could remember that Paul is to the Word of God, what Peter is to Tradition. Add in the redaction of reason and Anglicans have a natural home to turn to. In fact the same home we were forced to leave at the time of the Reformation by an accident of history through no fault of our own; simple as that! Here at the tomb of Paul we joined in the office of Vespers with the Abbot and a college of 20 priests with 15 of us in the congregation. This is where traditionally the Sovereign of Great Britain was an honourary Canon. Little did we know that our fervent prayers to God through St. Paul for Christian unity between Rome and Anglicans had already been answered!! The Dominicans prayers for this same intention months ago had got in before these particular prayers( but no doubt had joined  all of our earlier and constant intercessions for the same cause). Could Paul be a special Apostle to the Anglicans who seek unity with his brother Peter and the Universal church? Who knows perhaps very soon a British Monarch may again be installed as an honourary canon of St. Paul's Basilica outside the walls at Rome.? That would really be another ecumenical miracle to follow the Apostolic Constitution of Benedict the sixteenth! Real Roman Fever indeed! Another treasure we found was San Carlo whose feast is tomorrow. The church has a wonderful website and ministry under the direction of Mgr. Martinelli you can visit it here http://www.sancarlo.pcn.net/argomenti_inglese/pagina0.html and be sure to visit the Your questions bar on the left. I commend  it to you. Buona Sera!!

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