I had a gita ai castelli today, for a half day retreat with the bishop, most of the diocesan clergy and the speaker.
In the mini-retreat, the presenter provided few interesting ideas (which is more than often happens), but there was something. Afterwards, there was a bit of a lunch with quite a few of the priests and the bishop. This is a fairly regular occurance there, unlike most places where bishops dwell in light inaccessible. Then I took a few minutes to walk about the town before heading back to the train station for the trip back into the City.
Velletri is known especially for being the birthplace of Gaius Octavius, adopted by G. Julius Caesar, who is better known as the Emperor Augustus. Several Popes have come from Velletri, now the combined diocese of Velletri-Segni, closely associated with the See of Rome for centuries. Velletri and Segni had their Cardinal Bishops, some of them very distinguished. One of them was Stephano Borgia. The city bears various monuments to both these figures.
In the cathedral, a minor basilica, there were standards on display for the feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot. There is a little church dedicated to Sant’Antonio, but it is closed right now. Years ago I stood there and blessed horses and pigs for the feast. In any event, the standards have been reworked, apparently, for they bear the coats of arms of the late Pope, the present Pope (who used to be the titular Cardinal Bishop, and the now retired bishop. The cathedral is presently being restructured, since the roof is threatening to cave in.
On my short walk about I also went past the church where I was once rector, dedicated oddly to Sts. Peter and Bartholomew (figure that one out). Closer to the cathedral, and not far from the great butcher shop for .. well… the sort of meat you can’t usually get in the USA, there is a monument to people who died during the bombardment by the Americans in connection with the invasion of Anzio. Anzio is just below Velletri on the coast, and you can see it fairly easily. Also included in my peregrination was quick stroll past the awful dump I used to live in. Brrrrrrrrr…..
Heading back to Rome, I saw, as I have seen a zillion times in the past, the sun sinking closer to the Mediterranean, lighting the Roman pines with that special golden hue peculiar to this part of the world.