A glorious day and we have lunch in the garden, like the old times with the children after Mass.
“High above all nations is the Lord, above the heavens his glory”.
MONDAY 19th September – St Theodore of Tausus
St Theodore, an interesting man. Appointed at the age of 65 to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, having not even been a priest previously.
We fly to Italy. We meet the Vice President of the Chamber, S. Mailo of the 5 Star Movement, who might become the next Prime Minister if, as is possible, they take power, and have dinner at the Villa Wolkonsky with our Ambassador who is only in her forties.
TUESDAY 20th September
There is a church very close to the square facing the parliament where we are staying. I got a brief bit of the Mass and follow it on Universalis before a full day of meetings. We have good access to the Chairmen of both the European and Foreign Affairs Committees in both Parliaments. The only subject is Brexit. Alberto Costa and I deserve a medal for repeating I don’t know how many times how much we value Italians living in the UK, which of course is true.
There is time to go to Mass at the church behind our hotel. The sermon for a little midweek Mass in incredibly long. There is nothing more frustrating than a sermon delivered in a passionate and interesting way when you cannot understand what is being said. After a bit I take refuge in a street concert and just come back for communion.
“In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him”.
WEDNESDAY 21st September – St Matthew
It is nice to read the Gospel first and then listen to St Matthew in Italian and listen to the familiar words in Italian during the Mass and repeat them in Latin.
“As Jesus was walking he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the custom house and said to him ‘follow me’ and he got up and followed him”.
More meetings, this time in the Senate. I love Maccari’s painting of Cicero addressing the Senate.
THURSDAY 22nd September
We have to fly back fairly early but by chance in a busy walk I stumble across the baroque façade of St Ignazio’s church. What an extraordinary feast to the eyes and one can photograph the ceiling through an upturned mirror. It seems almost to come alive in 3D.
“Vanity of vanities, the preacher says. Vanity of vanities, All is vanity! For all his bit, his bit under the sun, what does man gain by it”.
FRIDAY 23rd September – St Pius of Pietrelcina
A sunny swim and then a drive up to Lincolnshire for a surgery and an evening event with a talk by a Prison teacher. There is, it seems, much humour thankfully even in prison.
I am reading John Hooper on ‘The Italians’. He is dismissive of Padre Pio’s stigmata. I am not sure, why should anyone deliberately wound themselves?
SATURDAY 24th September – Our Lady of Walsingham
We are not there, but at Mass in the estate church at Stainton with sweeping views over the Wolds. I worry over the reading about Lazarus. The man is just so selfish. Is it we?