Easter came and a trip to England in Easter week and then back here and a steady application to work - these are some of the reasons why the blog hasn't been done. I have had a number of people asking me why I haven't been active, blogging - hence the excuses.
Easter was wonderful in Rome (though Easter Sunday saw a deluge) and with a good number of priests from the Casa I was able to attend many of the Papal Masses and Liturgies and distribute Holy Communion at some of them. Despite the ranting and raving of The Tablet, the Liturgies were conducted prayerfully and beautifully, with a good balance of new and old. I laughed when I read The Tablet's lament about Cardinal deacons dressed in dalmatics and mitres: the implication was that this was PRE-CONCILIAR - i.e. Bad Church Era - but I spotted a picture I took with my family in 1993 of the Easter Urbi et Orbi and (shock and horror!) there were those pesky Cardinal Deacons in dalmatics and mitres who had obviously time travelled either forward from Bad Church Era or back from Bad Church Era - the Sequel (i.e., now). It really does show the silliness of The Tablet and its antipathetic attitude to Rome, to the Pope and ultimately to Catholicism (e.g., frequent dissenting articles concerning contraception, and even editorials implying that the Church is too strict on ruling out abortion in certain cases). Tablet Catholicism, as I like to call it, has evidently found a new recruit in Tony Blair - but you can go to other websites, such as the Hermeneutic of Continuity and others, to find a more detailed analysis of what the "convert" has been saying and doing.
Earlier in Holy Week I was able to go on retreat to Rocca di Papa, to a very cold convent there, and again this was with priests from the Casa. Rocca di Papa is lovely location, with wonderful views towards Rome, Castel Gandolfo and, in the distance, the Mediterranean. It was here that the founder of the Focolari movement, Chiara Lubick, died while we were on retreat. The area has a history that reaches back into antiquity, though the town itself got its name through the residence of Pope Eugenius III (1145-1153). On top of the nearby Monte Cavo there stood a temple dedicated to Jupiter Latiaris and to reach it the ancient Romans had to climb a Via Sacra, that winds its way even today to the top and is in a fairly good state of preservation. In pre-Republican times and after the mountain was a venerated place of pilgrimage for the Romans: Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Kings of Rome, built the temple here in about 520BC; newly chosen Consuls in the Republican period had to travel to Monte Cavo and sacrifice in the Temple, announcing the Latin Vacations; and a Consul who defeated Rome's enemies in warfare would come to the same place to celebrate the victory given him by the gods. I walked to the top of Monte Cavo following the Via Sacra - a good bit of exercise and an opportunity for some beautiful views.
On the way to the Via Sacra I took a picture from the town: the glow in the distance are not clouds but the reflection of the sunlight upon the sea.
This is part of the ancient Via Sacra which I briskly climbed - the small chapel on the path was a welcome respite: