Thursday, November 20, 2008

Questura = Purgatorio

In the movie The Princess Bride the protagonist has his life literally sucked from him, so that he is left "only mostly dead". That is how I feel after spending the majority of the day at the Italian Questura. Questura means Police Station, but I think it actually is a synonym with Purgatorio. [download][download]
My student visa is only good for three months, therefore in order to stay in Italy longer one is required to apply for a soggiorno, which literally means "stay". It is good for two years at a time. But, in fact, the first year is spent actually getting one!

This is Italian mediocrity, buracracy, and inefficiency at its worst. After applying for a soggiorno, paying 75 Euro, we are given an appointment two months later! So today I and four other priests arrived at the police station just before 9AM and were able to leave at 1PM! We stood there and waited and waited as our six documents (with 2 photocopies of each) were stamped and signed and stapled. We were then, eventually, ushered to a back room where our fingerprints were taken digitally and then sent back to wait. After another two hours we were escorted to the back room again for more fingerprints, handprints, signatures, etc. Oh, and at 11AM the staff promptly took a coffee break as we all sat around and waited.


The good news is that the paperwork went through and we can return in FOUR MONTHS to pick up our soggiorno document. I also received faculties today from the Vicariatus Urbis, the Diocese of Rome, to preside at Mass, hear confessions, preach etc.

Tuesday night was quite fun. I took the bus to St. Peter's to meet with Jane Murphy, her daughter Caroline, and her mother Lorraine. Jane and her family are parishioners at my first priestly assingment and witnessed for me at my priestly ordination. She and her mother were in town for the week to visit Caroline. We enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Needless to say, it was great to see familiar faces and get the latest news from back home. While the owner is quite nice and serves great food, he is an awful photographer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You were lucky! Only 2 months? I arrived here (Parma, in the north) in September for one semester (I leave in a few days) as part of a European Mobility course of study - each semester in a different country. Promptly applied for my permesso di soggiorno after arrival, only to be given an appointment in May next year..... needless to say, I won't be turning up!