My final 36 hours in Rome were amazing. Having celebrated Mass at St Peter’s on Wednesday morning, I met a few friends for breakfast and then wandered down to the start of the General Audience. I was due elsewhere at 11am so after praying the Our Father with the Holy Father I disappeared, only to return for the final blessing. Lunch with more friends – who just happened to be in Rome – and then an afternoon picking up a few things in town and perusing the bookshops and enjoying the 30 degree heat.
I want at this point to say something about where I stayed – Domus Australia. The house opened last year, and Pope Benedict came himself to bless the renovated buildings, including a truly beautiful church which has been reordered to facilitate the current liturgical reforms. It is all the work of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, led by Cardinal George Pell, who was visiting the Domoz (as I called it) at the same time. The purpose is to provide high quality accommodation to Australian pilgrims to Rome, and also welcome the occasional Pom!
I have been to Rome a few times, and I can say without reservation that this was the best accommodation I’ve had. The staff were polite and helpful, the food excellent – including the cooked breakfast! – and the church is a joy to pray in. There are special rates for priests and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to stay in Rome. The 62 bus takes you from the next street to the Vatican, and you avoid the heat and bustle of the tourist areas. I told the Rector, Fr Denton, that I was in two minds about spreading the news – for fear I won’t be able to get a room next time!
It’s been a great week, but I’m looking forward to getting back to the parish and the Canon Law books. I just wish I could bring some of the weather with me.