ROME Day 0: Rain, Dubia Cardinal, and the Great Roman

I have found that uploading photos on the fly, literally, can be difficult.  Hence, thin posting.

On the way into Rome, there were some rather ominous clouds piling up.

Sure enough.  I got settled into the monolocale macolato and headed out to find initial supplies.  BAM!  With cracks of lightning and thunder for a while it came down as if the Tiber had been upended.  And I, without umbrella.

The dove eventually found a mountaintop and I got some errands done.

Later, to Ss. Trinita for my own Mass – I said the first Mass of my stay for benefactors! – and then a Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool followed by Exposition until midnight.  I sat in choro.  The celebrant was Card. Burke.

The celebrant says his prayers before being vested.

I know that there are out there the half-informed who think that all this ceremony and finery is either outdated or a manifestation of pride or clericalism or whatever the hell thing they make up.  It needs to be seen and grasped through the prayers that are said for each vestment and also the significance of preparing the celebrant.

Some of this developed from the “court” being around the bishop.  Why?  Because every Mass of the bishop was really seen as the entire diocese being present and celebrating in his person.  That’s why you had all these extras, such as the guys in black, who were notaries in the chancery.

Meanwhile, the bishop has to just stand there and endure it all.   Why?  Because it is not about him.  It’s about HIM.  The bishop is going to be the priest and the victim at the altar.  Hence, he is treated like the sacrificial lamb before the slaughter, carefully prepared.

He even has to submit to being divested.

The ministers line up in order with the vestments which the deacon and subdeacon put on the celebrant.

Eventually, things get underway.

Exposition after Mass.

Interesting.  They have all the plate out this time!

After Exposition I was able to exchange cordial greetings with the Cardinal (we’ve known each other since long before he was appointed bishop).  A little chat with Ed Pentin and Diane Montagna on the steps in front.   Then it was off to supper with The Great Roman.   Not being as young as we once were, we split some Pasta alla Norma.

Then, orata in white wine.   I forgot to order the spinach rather than potatoes.

And thus, I returned to the monolocale macolato, tired.

More errandy sorts of things today.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Thank you Fr. Z. Wonderful images. I long for the ceremony and wish more would embrace it…from the top down.

  2. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Is it common in Rome to have carpeting or rugs on the top step of the main altar?

    I think of the difficulty in purifying an accidental spill of the Precious Blood…

    [Yes, back in the day for big occasions. But remember, the Precious Blood wasn’t being carried around or consecrated in large quantities. This isn’t the Novus Ordo.]

  3. UncleBlobb says:

    Thank you, Father Z.

  4. Safe travels, Father Z.

  5. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    You were wise to get the potatoes; I’ve never had better roasted potatoes than in Rome.

  6. Sandy says:

    Wonderful to see the Cardinal praying the vesting prayers. I’ve wondered before how many priests still do that, or if it’s even taught in seminary any more. Safe trip, Father, wish I could see it all too, such beauty and history!

  7. NBW says:

    Beautiful photos, Father!

  8. mepoindexter says:

    You never really explain who “The Great Roman” is. For awhile I had assumed it was Fr Reggie, he’s as great a Roman as there ever was, but he wouldn’t be in Rome so now I’m not so sure.

    [Fr Reggie Foster “the Great Roman”? ROLF. No. In a sense, my dear friend Reggie, whom I’ve known since the early 80’s, and my dear friend, the Great Roman, are like reversed twins in a mirrored alternate universe, where white is black, up is down, old is young and Roman is Roman.]

  9. iamlucky13 says:

    It is satisfying to learn details like this, and I’ve found they help my own participation at Mass by giving me something to reflect on at various points in the liturgy. When the things around me point back towards what is happening at the Mass, they help me bring my attention back from distractions.

    It would be great if there were more consistent effort on catechizing these sorts of details.

  10. Diana says:

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us, Father. I always love it when you travel! :) Praying for you, as well.

  11. daughteroflight says:

    @iamlucky13 – Definitely! I had no idea what went into the vesting prayers. What a beautiful practice!

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you for the photos Fr. Z.

    “Because it’s not about him, it’s about Him.”

  13. Unwilling says:

    FSSP has a very simple clear but detailed (2012) presentation of the TLM at

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    iamlucky13, a great book Fr. Z has in the sidebar, it’s very nice, “Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass”, by Lisa Bergman.

    Fr. Z, glad you got there safely, thank God. Please post when you can, anything and everything, including the lovely meals. We will not see these things in person, it’s nice to live vicariously sometimes. I hate to nag, but be careful crossing streets.

  15. edm says:

    I have to say that I have often wondered how they do not trip on those rugs on the altar steps. I know that they need to be loose so that they can be removed according to the needs of the liturgy, but it just seems like a catastrophe waiting to happen underfoot.

  16. Kevinbell says:

    Wow, his Eminence’s mantelletta is new! When did he start wearing the pre-Pauline choir dress?

  17. Pre-Pauline choir dress.

    It only makes sense that the liturgical dress in force in 1962 be used for when you are in choir or when you, as participant or celebrant, are involved. So, monsignors should wear, in choro, the dress proper to 1962. Cardinals and bishops, etc.

  18. I kinda worry about that carpet on the altar steps, with all those lumps and wrinkles. It looks like something a man could easily trip on.

  19. Spinmamma says:

    Wonderful, in the true sense of the word.

  20. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Such beauty, ever ancient new. I think the carpet gives a very festive flair, so appropriate for the visit of a cardinal.

  21. Fr_Sotelo says:

    The first sentence should read, “ever ancient, ever new” (a play on Augustine, from The Confessions).

  22. mepoindexter says:

    And everyone has a goatee. Without explanation.

  23. Pontifical Mass … and they talk about the carpet!

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