Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Annunciation Day {3 years ago today}

High altar in the Pantheon (Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs); ready for Mass on the Solemnity of the Annunciation
Three years ago today, on the feast day of the Annunciation, our family explored Rome on the first day of our 2011 family pilgrimage to Italy...

Continued from Day 1 {New York City Layover}

Groggy, but determined to stay awake until bedtime, our first day in Rome was like an initiation of sorts.  We held on for dear life on the shuttle ride to our flat from the airport, amazed that the driver could stay on the road while chatting on his cell phone, shifting gears, and honking simultaneously.  Our flat, too, has myriad complications, mostly relating to a schedule of turning on and off appliances we take for granted at home (water heater, furnace) and doing so without going over 3 kilowatts.  "If you have a black-out," our landlord informed us, "find Pete in the next building."  Black-outs happen when the legally enforced 3 kw of power per day is exceeded .

A jaunt into the city without a map, snacks, or warm layers proved to be quite difficult, particularly when we got slightly lost as everyone was hungry and the cool evening began to fall.  We opted to grab gelatos and visit the next site we came upon, rather than continue our unsuccessful search for the Colosseum.  We landed at the Pantheon, and entered a crowded, loud, amazing circular space.  Only a few minutes later, a bishop wearing a magenta cassock began ushering hundreds of tourists out, as a loud speaker announced that the Pantheon was closing for Mass.  We opted to stay.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation was being celebrated by our world-wide Church on this day, and we were just in time for the Holy Mass offered by a cardinal for a small group of pilgrims.  Before Mass we spent a holy hour in the presence of Jesus, as the bishop led a Rosary in Italian and the cardinal heard confessions.  Unfortunately, the temperature inside the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs (the Pantheon) probably dipped into the low 40's, and we froze throughout the beautiful, solemn high Mass.  A formal procession with a relic veneration followed Mass, and our family joined the final ceremony before taking one last glimpse of the Pantheon.  At the altar known as #7, a magnificent artistic rendition of the "Annunciation" by Melozzo da Forli brought us even closer to the mystery of the day.

Navigating the Metro on our way home was an experience unto itself.  We purchased five 7 day passes and took a round-a-bout path on our journey home.  The well-signed subway system is easy enough to navigate, but perhaps owing to serious sleep deprivation, we weren't paying close enough attention and got on the wrong train.  Tim caught our misstep shortly after we pulled out of the station, so we hopped off at the next stop, went back, and started over.

As we tucked ourselves in for the night, we had to wonder: just how long has it been since we slept on a plastic mattress?  We're excited for another day in Rome tomorrow (with snacks, maps, and extra layers). 

Day 3 {Rome: St. Mary Major; St. Praessede} follows.

  • It's hard to be comfortable on an 8+ hr flight when you spill your orange juice on your lap and all over your seat (just ask Peter).
  • One fleece jacket forgotten on the shuttle van from airport... will it be seen again?  Or will Peter suffer on the chilly Italian evenings?
  • Spell check isn't working here, it must be Italian spell check by default.  I'm curious to find out just how many misspelled words my posts will have without the usual fix!

1 comment:

boxinglover9 said...

OT: Good to know Manny Pacquiao will be fighting this year (against Tim Bradley) . Good news is that you can still watch his videos at the Manny Pacquiao Official Youtube channel on Youtube!