It's been a busy week with homework from three courses ratcheting up quite a bit. Fortunately, I had the closest thing to a "free weekend" in quite awhile. Free should be qualified, however, as I am aware of many close friends and brother priests who labor diligently each weekend. By "free" I mean large blocks of time to sit down and actually study without interruption or other demands causing me to lose focus. So Friday afternoon was such a moment as was Saturday. Good studies, reading, prayer.
I joined Fr. Russ McDougall, CSC Friday night at the Piazza of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Mom and Dad will remember this as the place with the cafe where they waited for me to return from touring Sant'Anselmo a few years ago. Fr. Russ showed me a favorite pizzeria of his - and it was quite good. I actually ordered a calzone and thought of poor ole Polito's. Afterward, we walked a bit past John Cabot University where ND students attend, to a Scottish Pub. All old wood, quaint, with a back room for Scotch sipping. The 7 page list was impressive. Fr. Russ and I celebrated his recent passage into the official dissertation stage at the Biblicum here in Rome.
After a productive Saturday I arose at 4AM to catch 5AM buses to pray the 6AM Sunday Mass for the Missionaries of Charity. Like my first time there, I was inspired by the sisters, all of whom are in some level of formation, aside from their superiors. 13 of them will make Solemn Vows on December 6th. As of Sunday they did not know to which missions they would be sent. While I am not sure if they were inspired by my presence or homily, I do know with certainty that I am in awe of their simplicity, their joy, as well as the beauty of their singing. A photo of some sisters and their chapel can be found at Fr. Tim's blog. Fr. Tim is a fellow priest here at the Casa and a Domer.
It is "winter" here in Rome with temperatures dipping into the 50s. After several years of enduring Lake Effect snow and wind I am quite happy. But the cold here seems different - it is ever-present. Buildings don't have much insulation so my classmates and I keep our coats on for the most part during class. This may be one reason why I've had a bad chest cold for the past week. So, "thanks" to my favorite doctor back in the states who gave me a Z-pack antibiotic for such occasions. :-)