ROME DAY 26: Old friends, new friends, dear friends

Sunrise in Rome: 7:35.  Sunset in Rome: 18:12.  Ave Maria: 17:30.

Today is the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles.  Martyrs.  Their tomb is in St. Peter’s Basilica.   I posted a photo of their resting place yesterday.

In a special way I ask the Apostles, one in particular known for interceding in the cases of impossible causes, to intercede for me on my 60th Birthday.

Yesterday there was a great Mass at Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini, celebrated by Bp. Dominque Rey of the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon.   He has been a champion of evangelism and traditional liturgy.

It was a Mass at the faldstool.   Masses at the Throne are impossible in Rome.

This is a Roman altar, friends.   With the “buste” and relics and the wonderful… what are they called again.  The floral decorations in metal.  I can never remember the term.   Under that painting by Guido Reni.

After Mass I was greeted by very many people.  One of them is a young Vietnamese man who told me about the TLM being celebrated in Vietnam for the first time in a very long time.  Also, he spends time in Finland.

I also had a wonderful conversation with two Koran pilgrims.   And there were many others from the USA (Portland stands out!) and elsewhere.

The organizers of the conference I spoke at gave me a bottle of good Calvados.  I brought it for lunch with the priests and the bishop after Mass.  It went well with the apple pie.

I had a good chat with Bp. Rey.  He has 95 – 95 – seminarians.  95.   He has a missionary view.   Tradition and a missionary spirit brings them.

I told him that one of the priests in his diocese and I were seminary companions and dear old friends, long sundered.  He instantly got out his mobile phone and called him.  Handing it over to me, we had cordial exchange of greetings.   I guess have to go to S. France to see what is going on.

In these last few days I have had a flatmate.  We went to met mutual friends, who came to Rome specifically for these days, atop the Minerva Hotel at their well-known roof-top terrace bar and restaurant.   The view.   In the distance St. Peter’s.  Close, Sant’Ivo.  The next dome, St. Agnes on the Navona.  The tower, Santa Maria dell’Anima.

I don’t get this.  Beams of light shooting up through the oculus of the Pantheon.  I don’t think they remember that it is a church.   In any event, my symbol wasn’t being projected, so I didn’t have to dash off.

Supper was… fussy.  This had something to do with mozzarella, though you wouldn’t have known from the flavor.   That thing propped up on the side that looks like it belongs on a rock in the ocean…. no, the one the right… was pretty good.

A view on the way back to the apartment.

Tonight, supper out with a small group of very close friends.

Speaking of friends, a great fellow from Tokyo, Augustine, came for the pilgrimage.   It was something to see him in his traditional kimono holding the UNA VOCE banner in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Pontifical Mass.

Knowing that it was to be my 6oth birthday, Augustine brought a gift of fine sake and a beautiful little sakazuki cup.  The 60th birthday, kanreki (), is one of the most important in Japanese culture. The characters indicate “circulate” and “calendar”, which means that you have come back to the same lunar year as when you were born, in my case, the Boar.  In other words, I’ve completed a cycle.   The little sakazuki which my friend brought is delicate, of wood, with a gilded bowl with a stylized boar.   I will treasure it.

Yesterday I stopped at the restaurant where we will eat tonight and told the chef (this guy’s got game, friends) and asked if he could create a special risotto that we could have with the sake.   There are few things in life that give more lasting pleasure and good memories than an evening out with a select cohort in a legendary place with thoughtful gifts to share around.

So the countdown is coming to an end.   Not only do I have some 60 hours remaining in this Roman sojourn, but, in Scripture, 60 is a threshold year when people enter the last major age of life.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    You’re just getting seasoned, Father.

  2. mamajen says:

    Happy birthday, Father! I hope you have a wonderful time with your friends.

  3. Happy Birthday! ?
    That cheese dish looks like a Thanksgiving Turkey centerpiece gone wrong.

  4. Mariana2 says:

    Many happy returns of the day, dear Father!

  5. Gil Garza says:

    Many more happy years!

  6. Mariana2 says:


    [That’s it.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  7. Andreas says:

    Alles alles Gute zum Geburtstag Herr Pfarrer!! Optime natalis!

  8. Welcome to the third season in a man’s life.

    Just remember, old age and treachery will overcome youth and exuberance.

  9. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Happy Birthday, Father!

    People in their late 80s and early 90s would say that back when they had turned 60, they were still babies.

    I was alarmed by the photo of the beams of light shooting up through the oculus of the Pantheon; that beam reminded me very much of the pillar of blue light that appeared in the aftermath of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as depicted in the mini-series Chernobyl.

  10. Julia_Augusta says:

    Happy Birthday! I am enjoying your photos in Rome. 60 isn’t considered old anymore these days. Decades ago, when a person would reach the age of 60, people would give him something quite precious but today, you reach 60 and people don’t understand why you’ve stopped running marathons.

  11. PostCatholic says:

    You’re clearly in your milieu in Rome, and I appreciate the deep dive you’re sharing into the city’s sights with your extended trip. Do you think someday you might return to work, retire and/or live there? If it’s not too personal a question to ask. Meanwhile, ad multos annos and enjoy your time abroad.

  12. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Happy Birthday, Father. Were you here in France (where indeed you need to come and see how things traditional are getting along), I would share some of this Calvados I have lying around in celebration.

  13. Gaetano says:

    Ad multos annos, Pater!

  14. Spinmamma says:

    Happy Birthday Father. You had a memorable day. and it is my fervent prayer you have many more productive and healthy years in your service to our Lord and to his flock. Much love your way.

  15. capchoirgirl says:

    Happy birthday, Fr. Z! Ad multos annos!

  16. GHP says:

    Kanreki Omedetougozaimasu!

    — Guy (still in Tokyo)

  17. Jacob says:

    Happy birthday, Father.

    If you do ever make it to the south of France, stop at Monastere Saint-Benoit in La Garde-Freinet. I’ve followed them for a long time.

  18. Lurker 59 says:

    Happy Birthday, Fr. Z. Thank you for everything that you on this Blog and through your sacerdotal ministry.

  19. Diana says:

    Happiest of birthdays, Father!

  20. Q7 says:

    Many happy returns of the day, Father — and may it be in excess of all the ruination pouring out of the synod!

  21. teomatteo says:

    May your next trip around the sun be your finest and maybe you’ll intersect the ‘Monsignor Point’. Happy Birthday.

  22. RLseven says:

    Happy Birthday, Fr. Z! I enjoyed learning about the significance of the 60th birthday, and the gift was very thoughtful and beautiful. Blessings as you cross the threshold!

  23. Charles E Flynn says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Portapalme, by Shawn Tribe, for the Liturgical Arts Journal.

  24. Gab says:

    A very Happy Birthday to you, Father. May your troubles be less and your blessings be more!

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    Happy Birthday Fr. Z and ad multos annos.

    God bless Bp. Rey and your friend Augustine. Calvados and apple pie is a winning combination.

  26. Happy birthday, Father. Ad multos annos!

  27. Kathleen10 says:

    Happy Birthday Fr. Z! Ah, 60, just a number! Once you’re over 10 hardly anybody ever even asks you your birthday, so you might say it once a year. Honestly there are some perks to it. You know those times you get asked to do something and you really don’t feel like doing it? Now you can just say something or other doesn’t feel good and you just can’t make it. Chances are you’ll be telling the truth.
    Take good care of yourself, eat right, get exercise, see the doc when you should and you can feel like 30 again. And I’m not kidding. That is true. You can be in better shape than when you were 30.
    God bless you, today and always. You certainly have a lot of friends and most of them you’ll never meet.

  28. Anne C. says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Fr. Z!!! May the coming year be your best so far! (Life gets better at 60!)

  29. MaryW says:

    Happy Birthday, Father! Hope you had a wonderful day. God bless you!

  30. Kevin says:

    Happy Birthday Father! God Bless you and keep up the good fight. Christus Vincit!

  31. Suzanne says:

    Happy Birthday Father Z and many more! Have a blessed Birthday! We

  32. L.Th.S. Martin says:

    I am glad that Jacob mentioned Monastère Saint-Benoît in Bp. Dominque Rey’s diocese. The monastery has an interesting project, to buy and restore the Templar Commandery of St-Christophe in Brignoles, some of which dates to the eleventh century, if not earlier.

  33. Archlaic says:


    Ad felicitatem consilia nostra et dimissione inimicos nostros! Et multis annis!

    I shall raise a stiff martini in your honor tonight… until the day our paths cross again, keep on keeping-on

  34. Kennedy says:

    Belated birthday wishes Father. You have a very auspicious day for birthday.

  35. veritas vincit says:

    Hope you had a happy birthday, Father Z!

  36. KateD says:

    Happy Birthday, Father!

    May God grant you 60 more in health and happiness!

Comments are closed.