Rome: Papal Basilica – St Mary Major

A few blocks away from Rome’s Termini train station is the Papal Basilica of St Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore).

St Mary Major
St Mary Major

A circular plaza with a central obelisk and fountain provides a nice place for hanging out and selfie opportunities.

Plaza outside St Mary Major
Plaza outside St Mary Major

Inside the Basilica, it’s very big and also very beautifully decorated.

Inside St Mary Major
Inside St Mary Major
Mass at St Mary Major
Mass at St Mary Major
Porta Santa (Holy Door) at St Mary Major
Porta Santa (Holy Door) at St Mary Major

Over the front entry is a large very nice stained glass window (people for scale)

Inside the entry of St Mary Major
Inside the entry of St Mary Major

The adoration chapel

Adoration chapel at St Mary Major
Adoration chapel at St Mary Major

In the confessio

The Confessio at St Mary Major
The Confessio at St Mary Major
Praying Pope sculpture (Pope Pius IX I believe?)
Praying Pope sculpture (Pope Pius IX I believe?)

One more papal basilica to visit.

Moving Part Deux

It’s been almost a month in the apartment now, and it’s time to move the rest of the stuff out of the house into storage. Tomorrow we rent a big moving truck again, load up the rest of the stuff stashed in the garage and move it to storage.

The kitchen has new counters, the archway into the former office and the door between the shack and the bedroom are both filled in, and the walls have a fresh coat of paint on them. The house is now a 4 bedroom (counting the room over the garage), 2 bathroom house as it was originally designed to be.

Next week the carpet and vinyl get replaced. While that’s happening, I’ll be re-screening the back porch and putting back the shelves that had to be taken down for painting. Then put the appliances back, a bunch of cleaning and the house goes on the market!

Rome: Papal Basilica – St. Paul Outside-the-Walls

The Basilica of St. Paul Outside-The-Walls (Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura) is located (not surprisingly) outside the walls of the original Rome, and is built on top of where St. Paul is buried. There’s a metro stop just a couple blocks away, so the Basilica is pretty easy to get to.

Going through the front entrance puts you into a nice little garden square with a large statue of St Paul in the middle.

Basilica of St Paul Outside-The-Walls
Basilica of St Paul Outside-The-Walls
St Paul
St Paul

Inside, the Basilica is very long, and like all the churches in Rome, beautifully decorated. On the walls just below the ceiling are mosaics of all the Popes, with the current pope lit up by a spotlight.

Inside the Basilica of St Paul Outside-The-Walls
Inside the Basilica of St Paul Outside-The-Walls
Pope mosaics
Pope mosaics
Pope Francis mosaic
Pope Francis mosaic

I counted about a dozen or so empty spots for future popes. Not sure what happens when those are all filled up.

In the Confessio beneath the main altar, you can see one side of St. Paul’s sarcophagus, and a length of chain that is supposed to have bound St. Paul.

The Confessio at St Paul Outside-The-Walls
The Confessio at St Paul Outside-The-Walls
Length of chain that bound St Paul
Length of chain that bound St Paul
Tomb of St Paul
Tomb of St Paul

There’s also a gift shop/book shop here, a little cafe where you can get some food and drinks (including beer…how many churches can you say you’ve had a beer at?!). There’s also an archaeological dig/exhibit, but it wasn’t open when we were there. Looked like it would have been pretty interesting to go through. Near the Basilica is an archaeological dig of a necropolis which looked pretty interesting through the fence.

Definitely worth adding to the list of places to visit when you’re in Rome.

Church doughnuts

This past Sunday, we started our third year of doing coffee and doughnuts after the 9AM Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

We get to the church at around 0730, and while I’m getting the tables and chairs set up, Connie’s picking up the doughnut order from the Krispy Kreme down the road.

IMG_0722
Set up for coffee/doughnuts

We get anywhere from 14-18 dozen doughnuts each week. The amount depends on the time of year, and sometimes the weather forecast. There are usually fewer doughnuts over the summer (lots of people out of town on vacations) and during the colder months. Some days we have just enough doughnuts, some days we end up with 2 or 3 dozen left over. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot trying to figure out how many to order.

doughnuts
Doughnuts!

Sprinkles!

doughnuts

There’s coffee (regular and decaf) and tea for the grown-ups, hot chocolate, apple and orange juice for the kids and plenty of doughnuts to go around.

We’ve met some really nice people who have become coffee/doughnut helpers (serving doughnuts, pouring cups of juice for kids, cleaning up). It’s a bit of work, but we enjoy doing it. It’s nice to see parishioners and their families come in, sit, chat and socialize over coffee and doughnuts.

People enjoying coffee/doughnuts
Come for coffee and doughnuts, stay for the company

If you’re in the neighbourhood, stop in, say hi and have a doughnut! We do coffee and doughnuts pretty much every Sunday except for the third Sunday of each month (Knights of Columbus do their pancake breakfast that day). The doors open after the 9AM Mass, which usually ends around 10AM and we normally stick around until 11AM.

Rome: Trevi Fountain

I think the first time I saw the Trevi Fountain was in Roman Holiday. Looked like a pretty neat place in the movie.

We passed by the fountain on our second evening in Rome and stopped to take a few pictures. It was a good deal more crowded than it was in the movie.

Trevi Fountain at night

The fountain is a pretty impressive looking structure, and pretty large. With all the people around, it’s kind of difficult to get too close for a good look at some of the sculptures.

Trevi Fountain at night

Near the end of our trip, we stopped by the fountain again to see what it looked like in daylight. Just as nice, just as crowded.

Daytime Trevi Fountain

The piazza around the fountain teeming with people. I can only imagine what it’s like during the height of the tourist season.

Trevi Fountain crowd

Trevi Fountain crowd