It has been an amazing week of festivities in Rome, starting with birthday celebrations last Sunday and three Independence Day parties this week offered by U.S. embassies in Rome. There are actually three United States embassies in the Eternal City– one to Italy, our embassy to the Holy See and a third one whose ambassador represents the U.S to United Nations-based organizations in Rome (FAO, IFAD, etc).

Each embassy offers a July 4th party and they coordinate with each other to arrange the celebrations on separate evenings.

I attended the July 3 party offered by Ambassador Gingrich for U.S. citizens, our many friends in the Vatican, diplomats accredited to the Holy See and the many good friends from Italy. This event is always held in the gardens adjacent to the ambassador’s residence, gardens filled not only with people but with hamburgers, hotdogs, wine and beer (and lots of cold water), ice cream, an immense birthday cake and, of course, the required tons of red, white and blue decorations.

Also part of the evening were musicians from the Navy, the presentation of the Colors and speeches by Ambassador Gingrich and DCM Lou Bono. I did a Facebook Live of those moments but really did not take any other photos of the evening. This is always a fun evening in which those of us who are ex-pats enjoy each other’s company and share time with our myriad friends from Italy and other countries.

I did, however, take photos at last night’s bar-b-que that the Gingriches offered at their residence for a number of close friends visiting Rome and a few of us who live here. It was wonderful as it was far smaller than the July 3 party, of course, so more time to get to know people, share stories and enjoy a great dinner.

The guests included three very special couples and their children (they had just ended a weeklong Mediterranean cruise), Kip Tom, the U.S. ambassador to UN agencies and former Senator Roy Blount and his wife.

Here is a pictorial account of the evening. By the way, the number 35 on the cake refers to the 35th anniversary this year of formal United States-Vatican diplomatic ties. One picture I love is Newt speaking and the very bright teenagers hanging on to his every word!



Join me on Vatican Insider this weekend when my guest in the interview segment is Tammie Stevens of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as we talk about the newly inaugurated CHARIS – Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service – an institution willed by Pope Francis and linked to the Vatican. Who are Charismatics? What is a charism? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in this movement. Tammie helps us clear up some misconceptions about Charismatics. She just finished a period of work in Rome for the movement and talks about that as well.

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