Rome – Day 1: Pall and Pallotti

Errands this beautiful Roman morning took me past the great Jesuit church, the Gesù, where you find the tomb of St. Ignatius. I prayed for the conversion or the eradication of the society.  I would prefer one over the other!

A glimpse at some Roman ruins of the Republican period at Largo Argentina.  The ruin used to be full of cats (much like the heads of some prelates I know). I spotted only two this time and one wasn’t moving.  Cats, that is, not prelates.

This morning took me to fabric stores and to Gammarelli.  I am putting together the plan to have the reversible travel vestments made.  I’m learning about silk. I received a donation, which allows me to start the project.   I will put the names of donors with the vestments in some way, as I described HERE.  (Thanks, JD!) This is becoming complicated but interesting.   I even got an estimate for travel dalmatics, in case when I am out and around with the portable, we must have a Solemn Mass on the fly!  (I need one of those miniature thuribles….)

I popped into Barbiconi to get a replacement pall.  A certain priest of my acquaintance whom I shall not name at a certain parish where I help on certain Sundays appropriated my pall for himself.

It helps me to remember to add prayers for him and think with gratitude about the gift of Summorum Pontificum.

Then, to my usual green grocer in the Campo near to where I am staying.  La Signora has been there for as long as I can remember… and that’s quite a long time by now.

To the other shop for necessities, like sliced meats and cheeses, etc.

Alici…  mmmm….

I stopped in the little church in the V. Pettinari (close to Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini) to visit the tomb of San Vincenzo Pallotti.  I prayed for a particular priest serving in NYC who is a fine example of service and good cheer.

In the same church is the tomb of Bl. Elisabetta Sanna.


I took a lot of cares with me to the altar today, though it was an otherwise great day, beautiful in Rome.

In the sacristy, ready for a priest to say Mass.

In the Roman way, in sacristies there were tiny wall niche “chapels” where a priest could kneel and say his prayers before and after Mass.  Two such are preserved at Ss. Trinità, the Priest-Friendliest Church in Rome™.

Here is one.  It is a little run down, but it could be fixed up again.

Note those “cards”, which are on hinges, to swing to the best angle.  And there is room on the pre-dieu for two priests.  Each “card” has the same printed text, of the prayers before Mass and the thanksgiving prayers after Mass, which are quite extensive. Given that, back in the day, there many priests saying Mass at the same time, they needed to have room for their prayers.

So, summon your powers of imagination.  The priest would kneel here, first, and get ready.

Then he would wash his hands and go to vest.

Summon your powers of imagination.  

There are some 8 altars in addition to the main altar.  Each perfectly tricked out for Mass.  The bell of the sacristy rings as priests head to an altar.  They pass each other and say either “Prosit!” or “Memento!”  People drift in and out of the church, heading to an altar where a priest is about to begin.  He enters the little side chapel, the server closes the gate.  Mass starts.  Priest after priest at all of these Roman churches did this day in and day out.  They are like mauseleums now that the “reforms” have been so effective.  However, where the tradition is living, this life is growing again.

The thanksgiving prayers begin in the third column.

So, when Father finishes his Mass –  here is a friend of mine, going out from the altar of God –  he would enter the sacristy, reverence the cross at the altar in the sacristy, give the blessing to the server, divest, and then kneel to say his prayers.

Here is the other priest niche.  Now it has a function of propping things up, but who knows?

I have a recurring dream in which I am supposed to build a church.  For years now.  I have the whole thing mapped out in my head.  The sacristy will not lack all the necessary elements.

So, that’s a little glimpse in the traditional traditional morning of the priest.

Back to the streets.  I’ve always liked this end of the Campo.

It’s time for a stroll and grocery run.

Tonight I’m brazing a roulade of chicken and pancetta and herbs in white wine with a touch of truffle and whole datteri.

And the Mascherone says, “That sounds great!  What’s on for tomorrow?”



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    You are probably staying near the Fontana delle Tartarughe? I stayed in an apartment there once and remember seeing lots of cats in the Largo Argentina. I love the Campo dei Fiori market and especially the alici marinate, mozzarella di bufala and the straciatella from Puglia. In the spring they had a lot of courgette flowers, which people in Rome stuff and fry. I miss Rome.

  2. youngcatholicgirl says:

    St. Vincent Pallotti! I asked a friend once what her Confirmation name was, and she said, “Vincent.” I asked, “Vincent de Paul or Vincent Ferrer?” The response was, “Vincent Pallotti.” I had never heard of him before then. How interesting that you bring him up, Father.

  3. quo vado says:

    Let me guess, Pallottine fathers in NYC’s Carmel? Love their work! Thanks for reminding me to pray for them.

  4. wanda says:

    Thanks for the sight-seeing tour pics. Beautiful churches, Saints, niches, food and flowers. Lovely.

  5. Lisieux says:

    Don’t worry about the cats, Father. There’s a large cat sanctuary down the stairs by the side of the ruins: they have anything up to 150 cats at a time, and each cat has its own sleeping area. When we were there, we only saw two cats in the open, but quite a few of them down in the sanctuary! The volunteers also make and sell various artifacts, from earrings to T-shirts (my husband and I have matching T-shirts from there!) in order to support the very large costs of feeding and veterinary care. One can also sponsor individual cats. Do visit the sanctuary! They have a website at

  6. I love the Argentina. I could spend hours upon hours there.

  7. acardnal says:

    I really enjoy the photos and comments . . . fascinating and educational,too.

  8. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I always love your blog, Father, especially when you are in Rome.

  9. mysticalrose says:

    You should build that church, Father!

  10. jaykay says:

    Mysticalrose says: “You should build that church, Father!”

    Build it, and they will come! Thanks for the beautiful pics, Father. I knew when you posted that you were going to Rome that there would be much to slaver over! And more to come. The sacristy pics of the pre-and-post celebration prayers are a revelation. I ask: how many priests now even know that they should do this, as opposed to rushing off to press the flesh after Mass? And before? Redundant question. God bless that lady with her stall, I know you’ve featured her before. I can almost hear my very Roman bro-in-law, who as a kid helped his uncle run a stall in Porta Portese market in the 70s, horrifying his daughters, who speak “proper” Italian, with his Romanesco dialect.

  11. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    You have many different was of contributing, but is there a way for those in Europe, like Amazon or another type of gift card in euro? Something so the money is not lost in the exchange rate. I could give, but money is lost in the exchange to dollar. Then you come here and then you need to exchange back to Euro.

    [It is kind of you to ask. I haven’t received any Amazon cards in Euro, yet. I am not sure if I would then have to use that for an European Amazon order. When I get GBP because people use my links, I can only use the credit for purchases in Great Britain, which is okay. Most people just use Paypal. It isn’t optimal, I know, but it is swift and easy.]

  12. Mike says:

    Am about to get some shut-eye just up the street from that fountain, at the Residenzia in Farnese. A restful night to all.

    [We are very close to each other, it turns out. So, don’t keep me awake with your loud friends and music!]

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