Monday, February 13, 2017

Bella Roma - First Day of Pastoral Visit

Greetings from the Eternal City, Bella Roma/Beautiful Rome!
   Following two problem-free and enjoyable flights from Detroit to Atlanta, and then from Atlanta to Rome, Msgr. Michael Osborn and I arrived safely in Rome very early this morning at 3:45 a.m. Kalamazoo time, 9:45 a.m. Rome time.  Once more we were blessed with on-time flights, baggage that arrived at the same time we did, and our faithful driver Giuseppe was waiting to drive us from the Rome Fiumicino Airport to the North American College (NAC) in Rome.
   The weather here is perfect in every way:  blue skies, sunshine, temperatures about 60 degrees with a nice breeze----almost-springtime in Rome is a beautiful time to be here.
   Our two deacons, Jeff Hanley and Max Nightengale, who are the primary reasons we are making this Pastoral Visit, as well as to meet with their Formators here at the North American College, are both still returning from their time of Canonical Retreat they were on this past week.  Due to some flight changes on their end, they will not return until later this evening. 
Deacon Max Nightengale

Deacon Jeff Hanley

    So, in light of that situation, and because of the very real jet lag phenomenon, we have had a rather light day today.  After finding our rooms here at the NAC and freshening up a bit, Msgr. Osborn and I walked down the big Gianicolo Hill (one of the seven hills that Rome is built on)
View from the top of the Gianicolo (Janiculum hill)

 to see St. Peter Square, walk around that part of the Vatican, and of course had a little lunch---or pronzo as the Italians say---at which we enjoyed our first bowl of pasta.  We celebrated Mass late this afternoon, the intention for which for me was praying for all nine of our seminarians.  We pray that God will strengthen all our young men in our formation program, as well as the several young men who have expressed interest and are candidates or may soon be candidates.  May God continue to touch the hearts of young men in our Diocese to consider His call to them possibly to consider priesthood for the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

    As I think about an early night to retire to catch up with the time changes, its beautiful to hear the church bells sounding the hours from St. Peter's and so many other churches around the city.  It's a wonderful feeling, even in this big city of Rome with lots of big city problems, emergency vehicles' sirens and many common urban issues, to know that we are here at the heart of our Catholic faith, near the Tomb of Peter, and close to our Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on earth.  Be assured of my prayers for all the Faithful of our Diocese, along with my many other special intentions, during the days of this Pastoral Visit to Christ our Hope.

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