Rector's Page: Sabbatical in Rome. January 20 - April 12, 2020

Week One
Arrival and Orientation

After a long airline flight from Denver through London, I arrived safely in the Eternal city.  A 45 minute van ride took me to my new home for the next 12 weeks, Casa O'toole.  I had only about 5 minutes to take my bags to my room before heading down to Mass.  I join 31 other priests from all over the world (Philipines, Ireland, Canada, United States, South America, and American Sumoa).

Our first full day was filled with orientation meetings.  But I took a long walk after Pronzo (lunch) to take a few pictures and pray a rosary (keeping you all in my prayers).

Casa O'Toole.  Located next to the North American College.  My home for the next three months.  Home of Charlotte Bonaparte (niece of Napolean) and later home to Sr. Pascalina (secretary of Pope Pius XII).

Pontifical North American College.  Home to 191 seminarians from 80 diocese around the world.

Located on the Gianicolo Hill and only a short walk from St. Peter's Basilica.

 January 22
Had a great privilege today to concelebrate Mass in the crypt of St. Peter's, directly in front of the tomb of our first pope.  I am still in awe!  My intention for the mass was for bishop Berg and all of our diocese.
After Mass we went to the general audience with Pope Francis.  Although our seats were not very good, it was nice to be there with pilgrims from all over the world.  The Pope spoke of the importance of hospitality, especially as it relates to Christian unity and evangelization.  At the end of the audience Pope Francis gave us all an apostolic blessing which included our family and friends back home.
Dome of St. Peter's Basilica from my front yard.

The Cathedral in Orvieto, home to an important relic of an Eucharistic miracle.
  Week Two -- Artwork in Rome
This week we were given the opportunity to learn about some of the great artists of Rome.  We spent a good part of the week viewing the master Caravaggio, a sixteenth century artist.  His more famous works are found in three particular churches in Rome: Church of St. Luigi, Basilica Church of St. Augustine, and Santa Maria di Populo.  Although, the most well known of his paintings is the Call of St. Matthew, I really liked the Madonna of Loreto, a depiction of Mary holding the baby Jesus while greeting two pilgrims to her humble house in Nazareth.

See the Power point below "Caravaggio Tour" for more pictures and details.
Madonna of Loreto, Bascilica of St. Augustine
Martyrdom of St. Peter, Church of St. Luigi
Call of Matthew, Snata Maria di Populo
  Conversion of St. Paul, Santa Maria di Populo
Marge Leetch,
Jan 31, 2020, 1:51 PM
Marge Leetch,
Feb 3, 2020, 1:03 PM