ROMAN CULTURE: PASTA PARTICULARITIES AND DOING AS THE ROMANS DO:
SOMETHING I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT ST. PETER'S:
Like many visitors I thought that the Blessed Sacrament was only reserved in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where It is exposed all day between the morning Mass and the 5pm one. You can see the noble proportions and lofty ceiling of this chapel in the photograph below.
On the afternoon of my visit, the Basilica and the Chapel were so crowded that the latter felt almost claustrophobic and much smaller than it is in reality. I suppose it must have been about 4.14pm when we entered and knelt to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. We did not stay for the Mass because of my Seminarian's limited time and because we fully believed that I would be able to attend Mass in St Peter's the following morning before the General Audience.I suppose at about 5pm, he led me to St Joseph's chapel which is beyond the Sacristy on the other side of the nave, telling me as we approached it that most people don't reallise the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there too, although firmly hidden in the tabernacle. I think he realised that if he didn't find somewhere quiet and unpopulated, I would probably collapse or explode. It was entirely due to his sensitivity because I gave no indication of how I felt inside. And so we came to the chapel of St Joseph
But oh, on May 3rd, what blessed balm of peace and solitude whilst the 'madding crowd' beat by, only a matter of yards to our right , but now amazingly they were totally unheard. In the silence it was suddenly possible to pray for them all, to realise the enormity of where I was, and with Whom..
The photo at the head of this post shows the pew in front of the one where I knelt that afternoon. I was aware that there was a nun in front of me too. But that is all. Reflecting now, I wonder whether perhaps there is an Order which makes sure that Our Lord is never left unattended in this chapel of His foster father.
I am sorry that this description is so inadequate.
We must have been there for at least ten minutes, and then we went down to the Grottoes by a way other than the two I knew about. DV, more of that and other surprises tomorrow. In the meantime, God bless all here.
In Christo pro Papa,