Rome Reports

I have been in Rome for nearly a month now, working on the details of my studies. Nothing definite to report there.

On Sunday a group of us were privileged to attend the Holy Father’s Mass for the Feast of the Presentation, which was also the 18th World Day for Consecrated Life.  You can read his homily here.

I found Pope Francis’ simple and yet significant notice of the Presentation as a meeting between the young and the old—between the Holy Family and the Simeon and Anna—to be remarkably astute, as it is a revealing and accurate exegesis of St. Luke’s gospel reading. The youth are  in the Temple to observe the Law.  The old are there under the spirit of Prophecy.  The Holy Father goes on to reiterate what he has said before, religious must preserve their traditions in the fervor of youth and at the same time be open to the wisdom of prophetic grace:

And in the consecrated life we live the encounter between the young and the old, between [observance] and prophecy. Let’s not see these as two opposing realities! Let us rather allow the Holy Spirit to animate both of them, and a sign of this is joy: the joy of observing, of walking within a rule of life; the joy of being led by the Spirit, never unyielding, never closed, always open to voice of God that speaks, that opens, that leads us and invites us to go towards the horizon.

It’s good for the elderly to communicate their wisdom to the young; and is good for the young people to gather this wealth of experience and wisdom, and to carry it forward, not so as to store it in a museum, but to bring it forward addressing the challenges of life, to carry it forward for the sake of respective religious orders and of the whole Church.

Here are some recent photos:

Ecclesiastical Manliness.

More of this, please.

Pope sends the old liturgical guard out to pasture.  Bye.

Bishop gets invited to gay conference, accepts and then preaches the truth to the participants.  Clever courage.

Sword Salute to David and Charlie.

Sorry, slow on the trigger.

Altar of Heaven, Lady of Victory

Well, I’m back.

In my last post I said I would post some more pictures of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. The Church does not look like much from the street 124 steps below its porch. Inside, however, is a different story. There is plenty of interest, especially for a Franciscan, the Church being the medieval generalate house for the Order. Our focus here, though, is the Battle of Lepanto.

This is the interior wall of the front of the Church:

The central stone panel in the lower half of the photograph contains an inscription commemorating The Battle of Lepanto. Click on the photo above for a better look. The inscription tranlsates: Continue reading


I am off to the airport in about an hour. This morning we took this picture of the community in Via Boccea. Father Settimio is the suprerior of the house (the very tall one in the middle). If you would like to see the state of Fra Giles’ balding head, click on the pic for a better look.

Yesterday the said Fra Giles and I went into Rome and visited a few churches. We also ate lunch at Santa Maria Maggiore with the friars there. Fra Giles was asking about everyone in America. He says hello to the locals.

One of the churches we visited yesterday was Santa Maria in Ara Coeli (Saint Mary of the Altar of Heaven), which an ancient church built on one of the tallest hills in Rome over the ruins of the Roman temple of Juno Moneta. I will more into the history of the Church in the next post. My main interest in this Church, which I had never visited before, is two: 1) It is the ancient Roman headquarters for the Franciscans; 2) It contains a huge memorial of the Battle of Lepanto.

In 1571, Santa Maria in Aracoeli hosted the celebrations honoring Marcantonio Colonna after the victorious Battle of Lepanto over the Turkish fleet. Marking this occasion, the compartmented ceiling was gilded and painted (finished 1575), to thank the Blessed Virgin for the victory.

Here is a little taste of some of the pictures I will be posting over the next few days.

This is the best shot I could get of the whole ceiling (click on the image for a larger version):

Continue reading

A Chapter Closed

This is the first moment I have had free to get back to the blog and give everyone an update. Our general chapter ended on Saturday evening and was capped by the solemn celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost, yesterday.

On Friday at aproximately 1:45 pm Father Stefano Maria Manelli, Founder and Minister General of our Institute from the beginning was reelected for a third term. Canon law requires that a third term for any major superior of a religious institute be “postulated,” which means that the chapter members must elect him by a two-thirds majority and then have the “postulation” ratified by the Holy See. After the ballots where counted and Father Stefano’s two-thirds majority was confirmed by the “scrutitores” (the ones who scrutinize), two of the chapter fathers rode on a motor scooter to the Vatican to present the “postulation” to the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life. He happily signed the postulation and so we have Father Stefano for another three years. Deo Gratias!

This is a picture of all the chapter fathers:

Continue reading

Mission to Rome

Well, I am on my way to the Logan Airport. I fly out this evening for Rome. Our general chapter begins on Tuesday morning with two day retreat, and then the chapter begins deliberations on matters concerning our order. On the eve of Pentecost the Minister General and his vicar will be elected.

Please pray for our order, the Franciscans of the Immaculate and for the chapter fathers, that we will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

I will try to post, if I can. I am bringing a camera. I hope to visit a few places that would be interesting to anyone with the spirit of chivalry. I will be back on May 14. I leave you with a section from the legislation of the friars concerning our Marian Vow. It is the spirit of chivalry:

The constitutive element most specific to the Marian Vow is the “unlimited” character of the consecration to the Immaculate.

In its most obvious and fundamental meaning, “unlimitedness” is the completeness of dedication to and possession by the Immaculate, excluding any limit and reservation, condition and regret of any kind. Gradually, in accord with the original inspiration of the Founder, there takes shape that resemblance to Her who in the Coredemption realized the most perfect unlimited love.

From this it follows that unlimited consecration to the Immaculate includes all other possible offerings and excludes none, nor can it exclude any, in virtue of the very nature of unlimitedness, which does not admit limits of any kind.

Because of this the Marian Vow entails “heroic action and unlimited striving for perfection”. It includes in itself an offer to be a “victim”, even beyond the furthest limit, namely, the immolation that is “martyrdom”. In the Marian Vow is found the most complete and radical offer of self to the Immaculate: She may demand “everything” from Her consecrated, ask any sacrifice and heroism, even that of being consumed as a victim of sacrifice and of immolating one’s life with the violent death of a martyr (cf. Const. 26), after the example of the death of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe.

That is the ideal. Please pray that we live it.

Ave Maria! Hopefully, I you will hear from me again soon.