Rome: Day 5 – Of museums and rainbows

This morning we have a visit to some of the preservation and restoration workshops of the Vatican Museums.

Later, I hope to sneak into the Basilica through a back door and visit the tombs of the new saints.

First, breakfast.


Among the many things we saw, here is the Madonna and Child we know see often at papal Masses.



We sneaked down through a back door in the Basilica after the Pope’s Mass in the piazza today but before the opened it up to the massive throngs outside.

SAINT John Paul’s tomb.




Saint Pius X


A moment from lunch. Puntarelle.


Tonight a rainbow over the City.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Magpie says:

    The perfect breakfast!

  2. mormormax says:

    So…what was Second Breakfast? ????

  3. Liz says:

    Sometimes I long for coffee in either Ethiopia or Rome. Yum! I hope and pray all is going well for you, Father!

  4. mormormax, that was my first thought when I read, “First, breakfast.” I have watched Lord of the Rings so many times that I was actually waiting to see what he had for second breakfast. Too funny.

  5. The Masked Chicken says:

    Man, if I took pictures of my food, all you would see are vending machines. I feel so guilty.

    Seriously, however, that food looks really rich. Make sure you monitor your cholesterol. Just a note from the Nutrition Chicken. Hey, we know healthy food, because we ARE healthy food :)

    The Chicken

  6. NBW says:

    It looks very good.

  7. mamajen says:

    Forgive my tremendous ignorance, but I didn’t know until now that Saint John XXIII is an incorrupt. And people were griping about his canonization? Really?

  8. OrthodoxChick says:


    I don’t think it has been claimed that Saint John XXIII is incorrupt. Since he only died in 1963, I would assume that he was embalmed, as most people in developed nations were then, and now.

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, the Vatican did release a statement a while back, saying that he’s not incorrupt, per se, but that the formalin embalming just worked really really really well.

    That said, I’m pretty sure that if he’d stayed Cardinal Roncalli, there’d still have been a pretty good sainthood case for the heroically virtuous former Vatican secretary of state, and former Vatican ambassador to Turkey who saved a lot of Jews and other refugees by giving them passports.

  10. Elizabeth R says:

    Apparently Pope Saint John XXIII was not embalmed, but is not necessarily incorrupt:

  11. OrthodoxChick says:

    Elizabeth R,

    Thanks for the link. So I guess it is more correct to say that Pope Saint John XXIII is neither incorrupt, nor embalmed, but that he was “preserved” at the time of his death.

  12. StWinefride says:

    Incorruptibility is not necessarily a sign of sainthood. Ste Thérèse of Lisieux’s body was not incorrupt – only bones and some debris of flesh and clothing were found. She had predicted this:

    “You have loved God so much, He will do wonders for you ; we will find your body incorrupt,” a novice told her shortly before her death. This idea seemed to pain her, and she answered somewhat sadly “Oh, no ; not that kind of wonder ! That would be a departure from my little way of humility ; little souls must find nothing to envy in me, so you can expect to find nothing but a skeleton. »

    As for St Pope John XXIII:

    “As soon as the pope died, Dr. Goglia was contacted and came to the Vatican where he injected a preservative into the body of the late pope. Dr. Goglia, now in his eighties, told the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana in a 2001 interview: “We put the bottle containing the liquid on the tripod. We made a small cut in the right wrist and inserted the needle there. I was afraid that the blood would exit through the tube or that the liquid could cause the skin to rupture …. At 5 a.m. on June 4 the operation ended. The liquid had reached all the capillaries, blocking the process of decomposition. We then injected some liters of the liquid into the Pope’s stomach, destroyed by cancer, in order to kill the bacteria there.” In addition to this, John XXIII was sealed in an airtight coffin (a triple-seal casket in a marble tomb), which would of course reduce the rate of decomposition considerably. The Vatican says as much. “It’s more common than you might think. The body of the Holy Father was well protected. Oxygen couldn’t get into the coffin and any in there would have been used up very quickly,” explained Vincenzo Pascali, from the University of Rome. Father Ciro Benedettini of the Vatican Information Services (VIS) said, “That the body is well preserved needs no comment or hypotheses concerning supernatural causes.”

    The Zenit news agency itself also denies any miracle surrounding the preservation of Pope John XXIII’s remains. It reported that when John XXIII died on June 3, 1963, “the technicians of the Institute of Legal Medicine of Rome injected formaldehyde into his body, to allow the body’s exposition for the faithful, before its burial. The practice has been applied to the Popes who have died since the mid-20th century.”

  13. Geoffrey says:

    Father, will you be able to celebrate Mass at the tomb of the saint who ordained you?

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    Isn’t puntarelle mixed with an anchovy paste? Looks good but I’m a little too wimpy for anchovy. Looks great though and I hope you enjoyed every bite of it. Must be a little easier to sample all of the wonderful restaurants of Rome with the crowds mostly out of the way and headed home by now.

Comments are closed.