PAMPERED IN PARADISE

PAMPERED IN PARADISE

After 10 days in California with my sister Gail and her family, I am now in Honolulu where I will spend time with some very good friends and, importantly, attend a meeting tomorrow in diocesan offices – a very important meeting about which I will write at a later date.

I called this column, “Pampered in Paradise” because that is exactly how I feel whenever I am in Hawaii. This is my ninth visit and yet, in so many ways, it also seems like the first time. I love to explore, to visit sites I know and discover new places as well.

I feel pampered with the slower pace of life here and the leisure time one has on a vacation to, as Hawaiians say, “hang loose.” If I were any more relaxed than I am at this moment, I’d have to invent a new word to describe it. I cherish the time I have to take leisurely walks along Waikiki beach, savor a prosecoo and delightful meal in places so beautiful you just want to prolong the meal time, or sit in a comfortable chair in the International Market Place, half indoors, half outdoors, half modern architecture, half botanical gardens – so special it has to be seen to be believed! Pix later

Yesterday I posted photos on Facebook of my delightful lunch at the Mariposa restaurant in the Nieman Marcus store at the stunning Ala Moana Shopping Center, near one of Honolulu’s many parks and marinas.

Here are some pix from lunch today at the Beach Bar Under the Banyon Tree at the wondrous, ultra luxurious Moana Surfrider Hotel. To stay here must mean to be really pampered!

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AUSTRALIAN APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS CARDINAL PELL ABUSE VERDICT

AUSTRALIAN APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS CARDINAL PELL ABUSE VERDICT

The following were released to journalists by the Holy See Press Office:

STATEMENT FROM SPOKEPERSON FOR CARDINAL GEORGE PELL

Cardinal Pell is obviously disappointed with the decision today.

However his legal team will thoroughly examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.

While noting the 2-1 split decision, Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence.

We thank his many supporters.

STATEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP MARK COLERIDGE, PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE

The Victorian Court of Appeal has today announced that, in a 2-1 decision, Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions for child sexual abuse offences has been dismissed. (cna/ewtn photo)

The Catholic Bishops of Australia believe all Australians must be equal under the law and accept today’s judgement accordingly.

Cardinal Pell’s legal team has said it will examine the judgement in order to determine a special leave application to the High Court.

The Bishops realise that this has been and remains a most difficult time for survivors of child sexual abuse and those who support them. We acknowledge the pain that those abused by clergy have experienced through the long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell. We also acknowledge that this judgement will be distressing to many people.

We remain committed to doing everything we can to bring healing to those who have suffered greatly and to ensuring that Catholic settings are the safest possible places for all people, but especially for children and vulnerable adults.

STATEMENT FROM MOST REV. ANTHONY FISHER, OP
ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY

The Victorian Court of Appeal has today upheld the verdict of historical sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell in a 2-1 decision.

From the outset the Cardinal has strenuously maintained his innocence. He continues to do so notwithstanding today’s decision.

Today’s split decision amongst the judges is consistent with the differing views of the juries in the first and second trials, as well as the divided opinion amongst legal commentators and the general public. Reasonable people have taken different views when presented with the same evidence and I urge everyone to maintain calm and civility.

As the Cardinal may yet decide to appeal the judgment to the High Court of Australia, I am limited in my ability to comment on today’s outcome.

Matters of the Cardinal’s status within the Church can only be determined by the Vatican, not the Church in Australia. I anticipate that the Holy See may well wait until the appeal process has been exhausted.

I recommit myself and the Archdiocese of Sydney to doing all we can to ensure that past crimes are never repeated and that Church environments are the safest possible for children and vulnerable adults.

I pray for and will continue to support survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of clergy and other members of the Catholic Church so that they may find justice and healing. I again say how sorry I am that you were harmed by people you should have been able to trust. I am conscious how you and your loved ones have had to live with the consequences of abuse for a lifetime.

I know that there are many in the Catholic community and beyond who will find it difficult to come to terms with this judgment, especially those who know the Cardinal and will struggle to reconcile this outcome with the man they know. I thank them for persevering in faith, hope and love.

As we wait to hear whether the legal process will continue, I will seek to provide pastoral support to those Catholics who may have found their faith tested

Archbishop Peter A Comensoli’s Media Statement on Cardinal George Pell

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Today the Victorian Court of Appeal, in a 2:1 majority decision, dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for assaulting two choir boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996 and early 1997.

I respectfully receive the Court’s decision, and I encourage everyone to do the same. That there have been two trials, and now today’s decision in the Court of Appeal, the complexity of the search for the truth in this matter has tested many, and may very well continue to do so.

My thoughts and prayers are with the man who brought this matter before the courts. I humbly acknowledge it has been a challenging time for him, and I stand ready to offer pastoral and spiritual help, should he seek it.

In Christian charity, I will ensure that Cardinal Pell is provided pastoral and spiritual support while he serves the remainder of his sentence, according to the teaching and example of Jesus to visit those in prison.

I also want to acknowledge with gratitude the people who have been involved in this case. For many, this has been a demanding and distressing experience.

To the faithful of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, I want to acknowledge the deep impact today’s decision will have for you. My prayer is that all of us might reach out to each other in faith, hope and love, as I do for you at this moment.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne continues to work with survivors to offer support for their healing, recovery and well-being. This is based upon an Archdiocesan-wide commitment to build a culture of respect and safety for all, and to reach out to those who courageously bring forward their stories.

I re-commit myself and the Archdiocese to a culture that listens, that seeks to bring justice and healing, and that protects children and vulnerable people.

Most Rev Peter A Comensoli Archbishop of Melbourne

HOLY SEE PRESS OFICE – AUGUST 21, 2019

The very first statement from Holy See Press Office after the verdict: “While reiterating its respect for the Australian judicial system, as stated on 26 February after the first instance verdict was announced, the Holy See acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal. As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court. At this time, together with the Church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members of the clergy who commit such abuse.”

Journalists accredited to the Holy See Press Office were notified that this morning, Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 9:15, press office Director Matteo Bruni will read the declaration on the outcome of the appeal process of Cardinal George Pell.

Responding to the questions received from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, has affirmed the following: “As in other cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is awaiting the outcome of the ongoing proceedings and the conclusion of the appellate process prior to taking up the case.

“As was stated by the Holy See Press Office on 26 February, the Holy Father had already confirmed the precautionary measures imposed on Cardinal Pell upon his return to Australia, that is, as is the norm, the prohibition from exercising public ministry and from any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors.”
*.*.*

JOAN’S ROME: TRAVEL ADVICE AND TIPS FOR TOURISTS

I leave tomorrow for some vacation time in Illinois, California and Hawaii with family and friends and, as usual, I try to post something interesting and informative on these pages in my absence.  I will also try to tweet occasionally and to post photos or FB live videos from time to time on my FB page so be sure to stay tuned (Facebook./com/joan.lewis.10420). Obviously, if there is any breaking and important news, I will be on top of it.

Since the new Vatican City State website does not include all the travel tips for tourists that it used to provide, I offer you the same information that I copied from the former website.

There is a link to the right of each post that reads
CLICK HERE FOR PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON VISITING THE VATICAN. I did not realize that link had been broken during an EWTN transition to new web pages, but it has since been fixed and I have updated the information. When you click on that link, you will be brought to my Tips for Tourist page, and to return to my news page, simply hit the back arrow

Share this information with your friends. It could help anyone about to come to Rome or anyone planning a trip in future months!

God bless!  Safe travels! Happy summertime to all, be your time a vacation or a staycation!

JOAN’S ROME: TRAVEL ADVICE AND TIPS FOR TOURISTS

As you might imagine, I receive countless requests throughout the year for information about tours, how to visit the Vatican, places to stay in Rome and Italy, etc.

Because there is no way I can personally answer the many letters and individual requests, I prepared these Tips for Tourists for people planning to visit Rome and the Vatican, answering questions about reserving tickets for the Vatican Museums, for tours of the Vatican Gardens and for visits to the world famous scavi, etc. There is also information about procuring free tickets to the weekly papal general audiences and occasional papal Masses.

In addition to the information below, I highly recommend the very following helpful website: https://stpatricksamericanrome.org

St. Patrick’s is the church of the Catholic American and English-speaking community in Rome and a great meeting place, not to mention liturgy! While I cannot offer help on lodgings in Rome (I explain why later), if you are interested in convents, here’s a link: https://stpatricksamericanrome.org/index.php/resources/convent-accomodations. For a ton of useful tips, here’s another section of our website, helpful Tips for Tourists from A (Airport shuttles) to W (working and Shop Hours).

I am often a lector here or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist so we might meet. In addition, we serve coffee and Italian cornetti after the 10:30 Mass so please come visit!

And guess what! You can also buy my book, “A HOLY YEAR IN ROME,” as a great guide. The Holy Year of Mercy is over but the book is an invaluable guide to Rome, the Vatican, (Vatican Gardens, the Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the catacombs, Castelgandolfo and tons of churches in Rome). If we meet I will sign it for you!

As I noted above, the church in Rome for Catholic Americans is now St. Patrick’s – that is a change from the information in my book when we went to press. You can get the book directly from Sophia Press, at a very reduced price, so buy one for yourself and one for a friend! https://www.sophiainstitute.com/products/item/holy-year-in-rome-a

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING THE VATICAN

(www.vaticanstate.va has a new webste but it no longer offers a link to information on visiting the Vatican. What I post below is from the original web page. I am so grateful I made a copy!

PAPAL AUDIENCES: A ticket – always free of charge – is required for attending the General Audience on Wednesday mornings or other papal ceremonies. They are issued by the Prefecture of the Papal Household and you will be told where to pick them up in the prefecture’s response to your request for tickers. Usually the ticket pickup office is accessed by way of the Bronze Door (Portone di Bronzo). The office is open Mondays from 9:00 to 13:00 and Tuesdays from 9:00 to 18:00. The website is: http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/index_en.html
To request a ticket, use their email or fax +39.06.69885863.

A note from Joan: Remember, you can also ask for tickets by visiting http://www.stpatricksamericanrome.org, the church in Rome for Americans that, on Tuesday afternoons distributes tickets to those who have requested them in advance by going to the website. They can be picked up at the Paulist Fathers’ office and that info is on their website I recommend this avenue because of the extraordinarily personal treatment you will receive as you meet fellow Americans, “ex-pat” Americans who live in Rome.

ST. PETER’S BASILICA: The Basilica is open every day from 7.00 to 19.00, April to September and from 7.00 to 18.00, October to March. To preserve the sacred character of the church, groups consisting of more than five members and accompanied by a guide are kindly requested to use “audio-guides” which can be rented at the entrance to the Basilica. Proper dress is required for admission to the Basilica. To rent “audio-guides”: telephone +39.06.69883229 or +39.06.69881898.

A note from Joan: “Proper dress” means that knees and shoulders must be covered – for men and women.

P.S. To get into the basilica without waiting in a long line, go to the 8:30 a.m. Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel – on the right aisle of the basilica. This way you have the beauty of Mass and the joy of experiencing this marvelous basilica without the tourists, as tourists are not allowed in until 9. Be in the security line no later than 8am, and tell the guards you are going to Mass (la Messa), so they know you are not a tourist but rather a prayerful visitor.
If you cannot make Mass, make sure you are in line for security at 9 a.m.

HISTORICAL AND ARTISTIC MUSEUM (Treasury): The Treasury is open from 9.00 to 18:15, April to September and from 9.00 to 17.15, October to March. The entrance is from inside St. Peter’s Basilica (on the left side).

VISIT TO THE DOME: Visits to the dome of St. Peter’s are possible every day from 8.00 to 18.00, April to September and from 8.00 to 17.00, October to March. The entrance is at the portico of the Basilica (on the right hand side of the basilica, just off the atrium). There is a ticket price.

A note from Joan: There are 320 steps to the top of the dome and it is an incredibly wonderful experience but also – and literally – breathtaking! Anyone with heart ailments, breathing problems or anything else that might be a serious impediment to scaling that height is forewarned before taking even one step. You can’t go a quarter of the way, for example, and decide it is too much and turn around. It is all or nothing! The staircase is wide enough for only a single person. There is one staircase for the ascent and a separate staircase (always one person at a time) for the descent.

VATICAN GROTTOES: The Vatican Grottoes are open every day from 7.00 to 18.00, April to September and from 7.00 to 17.00, October to March. The entrance is at the transept of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Note from Joan: It seems you now can go to the grottoes only if you are invited by a priest who is saying Mass at one of the altars there or if you are in a guided group. Individuals are no longer allowed to descend into and just roam about the grottoes

VISIT TO THE TOMB OF ST. PETER AND THE PRE-CONSTANTINIAN NECROPOLIS: For visits to the tomb of St. Peter and the necropolis (known as the “scavi,” meaning excavations), please contact the Ufficio Scavi (excavations office): tel. + 39.06 69 88 53 18; fax + 39.06 698 73017; e-mail: scavi@fsp.va . The office is open from 9.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday and reached by way of the Arch of the Bells.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL INFORMATION ON SCAVI TICKETS AND TOURS: http://www.scavi.va/content/scavi/en/ufficio-scavi.html
A note from Joan: This is one of the best visits you will ever make in Rome – or perhaps all of Italy. BUT, you MUST book well in advance. Several months before your departure is NOT too early to request a scavi visit.

VISIT TO THE VATICAN MUSEUMS: The Vatican Museums are open weekdays from 10:00 to 13:45 during November – February (except during the Christmas period when they are open from 8:45 to 16:45). During March – October the Museums are open Monday – Friday from 10:00 to 16:45 and Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:45. On the last Sunday of each month the Museums can be visited free of admission charge from 9:00 to 13:45. Entrance to the Museums is not possible 75 minutes before closing time.

The OFFICIAL site: http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en.html

(Note from Joan; Ignore the dozens of guys and gals around, and sometimes in, St. Peter’s Square as they try to hawk “Skip the Line” tickets. Some might even been wearing jackets or vests that say “staff” – they are not Vatican or Museum staff. Reserve online at the official website before you come to Rome – or as soon as you get here – to “skip the line” officially! – see below. And don’t go to a travel site for these tickets. They have to make money and will charge you more for a Vatican Museums entrance fee than the Museums do.)

Open Monday to Saturday: the Ticket Office is open from 9 am to 4 pm. The Museums close at 6 pm. N.B. exit from rooms half an hour before closing time. Museums are closed on the following days: January 1, 6; February 11; March 19; Easter Sunday and Easter Monday; May 1; June 29 (St. Peter and Paul); August 15: December 8, 25, 26

Check the Museums website for their early morning, breakfast-in-the-Museums offer.

BOOK IN ADVANCE ONLINE: http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/index.html
For information: Telephone +39.06.69883860 or fax +39.06.69885433

To arrange ADVANCE bookings for guided tours:
e-mail: visiteguidate.musei@scv.va .
tel. +39.06.698.84676 (for individuals);
tel. +39.06.69883145 (for groups);
fax +39.06.69883578.

THREE SPECIAL TOURS – FROM THE VATICAN MUSEUMS WEBSITE (Advance reservations required for all three visits):

1. As of March 1, 2014, pilgrims and tourists have been able to visit the Pontifical Villa of CASTELGANDOLFO, the summer papal residence, and the exclusive Barberini Gardens. Accompanied by a multi-lingual guide, visitors will have access to the botanical and architectural wonders of the pontifical residence, also known as the “Vatican Two.”

2. Again this year the Vatican Museums renew their usual seasonal appointments in the form of the NIGHT OPENINGS. Every Friday evening, from 24 April to 30 October – except in August – the monumental door of the Pope’s Museums will open at sunset to reveal over a thousand years of treasures in the Vatican Collections. The cultural and musical accompaniment to enrich the experience of some of the evening openings has also been confirmed.

3. Visitors can also appreciate the natural and architectural beauty of VATICAN CITY AND THE GARDENS in a new, unprecedented and sustainable way. Comfortably seated on board an environmentally-friendly open bus offering panoramic views, will the help of an audio-guide, they will be able to discover the silence and the botanical treasures of the “green heart” of the Vatican along an evocative itinerary bringing together art, nature and faith. For walking enthusiasts, the traditional guided tour of the gardens on foot remains available as always! Entrance to the Gardens is denied to persons not properly dressed. http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/visita-i-musei/scegli-la-visita/ville-pontificie-e-giardini/giardini-vaticani/giardini-vaticani-in–i-open-bus–i-.html

AUDIO GUIDES may be rented at the entrance to the Vatican Museums. For information and reservations: Telephone +39.06.69883229 or +39.06.69881898.

A CAFETERIA is open during visiting hours.

A note from Joan: For much of the tourist season – which, in Rome, is at least 10 months a year – the lines to get into both the museums and the basilica are indescribably long, and the wait can take a great portion of the day you had planned to spend in an altogether different manner. All that changes if you reserve your Museum visit in advance! I cannot stress that enough! When in Rome, call the numbers that appear above, or fax 06-6988-5100. You will be given a date and a reservation number (you may also received these by email or fax if that is how you contacted the Museums).

On the date of your visit, go to the small square at the Museum entrance and look for the sign that says “For Reservations Only” or “Reserved Groups.” Show you email or fax or state your name and reservation number and you will then be led into the Museums to join your group. I have accompanied friends and relatives who reserved in this fashion and the ‘thank you’ smile on their faces was my best compensation!

VISITS TO THE ROMAN NECROPOLIS IN THE VIA TRIUMPHALIS. The Necropolis can be visited only through prior written bookings. This can be arranged by emailing: visitedidattiche.musei@scv.va

Now that you have all this information it would be wonderful if you help me spread the word! Tell your friends and relatives who will coming to Rome about this page on my blog and/or send them the link to this information.

I also mentioned this earlier but you can also buy my book, “A HOLY YEAR IN ROME,” as a great guide. The Holy Year is over but the book is an invaluable guide to Rome, the Vatican, the catacombs, Castelgandolfo and tons of churches in Rome. AND it is now available at a very reduced price! You can get the book directly from Sophia Press: https://www.sophiainstitute.com/products/item/holy-year-in-rome-a

SO YOU WANT A GREAT MEAL…

Some advice as you sit down for a great dining experience: Carefully read the menu and know the price of each dish you are ordering. Waiters often make wonderful suggestions BUT be sure to ask the price of a dish they offer (especially if it is a fish dish!) or a bottle of wine. You don’t want to get an unpleasant surprise when you get the bill – knowing in advance will save time and money.

Italians have a wonderful way of looking at dining, be it at home or in a restaurant. This is a time to share with friends, to enjoy a good meal and great wine, to laugh and talk and relax. They feel badly if you eat hurriedly because, for example, you have to catch a tour but they rejoice if you linger over dinner for hours. That table is yours for the duration!

AND, in any decent Italian restaurant, you only get your bill when you ask for it! The restaurant owners I know here are horrified when I tell them that, in the U.S., a waiter generally brings your bill before you ask for it!

A TIP ABOUT TIPS. Check the menu to see if there is a cover or service charge. I have seen many a person not leave a tip as they assumed it was included in the price of the food or service charge – something they never assume in the U.S., for example. So check your bill: if there is a subtotal, then a service charge, then a total, no tip is needed. If they did not add service, you can! Ten percent would be a decent tip. By the way, in Italy, when you use a credit card, there is no extra line on the bill to add a tip! Tips, therefore, must be cash.

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS –

HOMEBAKED: Let’s start with a great American breakfast (bacon, eggs, waffles, pancakes, French toast, bagels, donuts, you name it) and great lunch offerings – terrific sandwiches and wraps and salads and brownies and cheesecake – and on and on. Add a Mimosa for brunch! And items are indeed homebaked! The owners are Jesse, an American and his Italian wife, Carolina. They make you feel right at home the minute you enter Homebaked at Via di Porta Cavalleggeri 25 – just about 100 yards from the left hand colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. I did a blog about it: https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/homebaked-debuts-next-to-vatican-city/

LA VITTORIA, Via delle Fornaci, 15 – 100 meters south of left-hand colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. Take the underground walkway and La Vittoria is on your left as you exit the walkway. Ask for Claudio and tell him Joan sent you – great food and company and views and reasonable prices. Claudio and his wife Palmerina are the welcoming and smiling faces of this restaurant that draws Swiss Guards, Roman Curia personnel and the staff and seminarians of the North American College. Closed Tuesdays. http://www.ristorantelavittoria.com/

“PIERLUIGI” is located on Piazza de Ricci – not far from Piazza Farnese, about 15 minutes walking from the Vatican – unbeatable food, fantastic wine list, superb staff – ask for the owner Roberto or his son Lorenzo and tell them Joan sent you. Fairly expensive but totally worth it, especially for the fish. Try to eat there when the weather is good and they serve outside on the piazza. https://www.pierluigi.it/

ZI GAETANA, Via Cola di Rienzo 263, has been owned by the Cataldi family for the past 80+ years. The name means “Aunt Gaetana” and four of Gaetana’s grandchildren now own and run the place – innovative menus, good wine list, great prices for lunch menu. Not far from Pza. Risorgimento and the Vatican. Closed Sunday evenings. http://www.zigaetana.com/EN/home

LO SCARPONE – Via San Pancrazio 15 in Monte Verde neighborhood– specializes in steaks and grilled meats – everything here is good – has large outdoor terrace as well as big rooms inside – frequented by people from Pontifical North American College and by Vatican clergy. http://ristorantescarpone.it/?lang=en

TERRAZZA BORROMINI, Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, 30. You are actually entering the Hotel Eitch Borromini which, along with the restaurant, is part of the Pamphili Palace on Pza. Navona. As you enter the building, walk to the end of the long corridor and take the elevator to the 4th floor and the Terrazza Borromini restaurant.

The website says it all: The restaurant is in small to medium-sized rooms overlooking Piazza Navona, embellished by Bernini frescoes and framing one of the most precious views of the famous fountains in the square. The outside terrace transports you to another world and, as you dine al fresco, you are so close to the church of Sant’Agnese, you feel you can touch it!

A menu of both Italian classics and innovations, I found prices to be quite reasonable given the surroundings and the view of Pza. Navona. The chef is Francesco Grasso whom many of my readers met when he was at La Scaletta, on the same street. http://www.terrazzaborromini.com/en/

After dinner. take an elevator to the 5th floor, then a small staircase to the terrace above the terrace restaurant and you will be left breathless by the views of the piazza and all of Rome, as far as the eye can see. A sensational spot for drinks and music and some down time with friends.

L’ISOLA DELLA PIZZA, Via degli Scipioni, 47 (close to Ottaviano metro stop) TEL. 06 3973 3483. Has a huge capacity, numerous staff and amazing menu – and not just pizza! Their antipasti are out of the world – the quality and the quantity. I had perhaps the best steak of my life here the first time I came for dinner with friends. Definitely worth a meal while in Rome! Tables available outdoors in nice weather. http://www.isoladellapizza.com/en/index.html

IL FALCHETTO – Via dei Montecatini, 12 – off of Via Del Corso in central Rome – closed Fridays – a wonderful menu – Roman dishes + specialities. New owners have transformed the formerly rustic and homey atmosphere into a modern eatery, even though it dates back to the end of the 1800s. Formerly a simple family-run trattoria, a century ago hunters would bring their catch here and the meat would be cooked and become the centerpiece of their meal. http://www.ristoranteilfalchetto.it/

RISTORANTE PIZZERIA NAVONA – Piazza Navona, 87 – As its website says: “It’s a classic Italian restaurant with tables outside and fantastic views on Piazza Navona. Stop for a glass of wine or to eat the traditional Italian dishes. Our cuisine offers the dishes of the Capitoline tradition that would satisfy any palate. Generous portions, traditional flavors and a wonderful view of the square.” Ask for Salih or Eduardo: they both worked at the once very popular La Scaletta. https://www.ristorantepizzerianavona.com PHONE (39) 06 6880 6827

L’EAU VIVE – Via Monterone 85 – an unusual treat – a French restaurant not far from Piazza Navona run by a lay sisterhood of missionaries from five continents – the sisters wear traditional dress, mostly African, and they pray and sometimes dance to prayer at 10 p.m. Each floor of has a different decoration – ground floor is the most basic, and there is a fairly varied menu, price-wise. https://www.restaurant-eauvive.it/booking/

DA GINO – In the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome on Via della Lungaretta – very good menu – typical regional and local dishes – dining indoors or outdoors, weather permitting – lots of Roman dishes but also some innovative combinations – and some pretty amazing salads. Closed Wednesdays. *no website

LA POLLAROLA – just yards from Campo dei Fiori on Piazza Pollarola, 24/25.
http://www.lapollarola.it – +39 06 68801654

There are, as you can well imagine, thousands of good and great restaurants in Rome. My advice: Create your own adventures and find great restaurants on your own!

A NOTE ON LODGINGS IN ROME

One area in which I cannot help people – simply because it is too time consuming – is in finding accommodations. If you seek a hotel via the Internet, you might also try to search under B&B (Bed and Breakfast), AirBnB or even under “Residence.” A residence is part hotel – often has a lobby and reception area but no room service, etc – and part apartment – you have a kitchen, etc. and it is like being at home, in a way. If large families are traveling or perhaps close friends or relatives, such as two or three couples, this can be a wonderful – and far more economic – way to travel.

You might also want to look at convents. I know many people who have had the vacation of a lifetime by staying at a religious house, whether or not they understood the language! In any event, Italians are famous for communicating with a smile and charade-like gestures! The St. Patrick Church website is very helpful in this respect: https://stpatricksamericanrome.org/index.php/resources/convent-accomodations

Other reasons I stay away from helping people find accommodations: There are so many categories of hotels – and the ratings here can differ so greatly from ratings of U.S. hotels (a 3-star here often does not equal a 3-star in the States). In addition, personal tastes and budgets vary so widely that I could really be off the mark. What is more, the US$ – €Euro exchange rate fluctuates so that the price one day is not the same price the next day. There are simply so many variables that it is better for me not to get involved in suggesting or recommending accommodations.

Sites such as http://www.booking.com and Trip Advisor can be helpful and produce excellent results. However, be sure to do three things once you think you have found the right hotel: 1. Visit the hotel’s actual website, 2. Read the reviews by past guests, and 3. Check the map to be sure this is the location you want.

Good Luck and Safe Travels!

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

It seems the lazy, hazy days of summer have affected churches as well as stores, offices, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc. who are now, “chiuso per ferie” or closed for the holidays” as we see on the signs they have posted on the storefront.

I decided to sleep in a bit yesterday and not go to the 10:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s as I do every Sunday. A Franciscan-run church near my home has an 11:30 Mass on Sundays and I blithely walked a few blocks only to discover that that Mass is cancelled in July and August! I then took a bus to San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, just across the Tiber River as I knew they had a noon Mass. Not so in summer!

I went to two more churches, one on foot in 100 degree weather and one by bus, as I knew they too had regularly scheduled 12 noon Masses. Again, not in summer, it seems! By the time I had gone to the 4th church, it was 12:10 and I knew I was out of time to find a noon Mass. That meant only one thing – evening Mass!

At 5:45 pm, I left for what I hoped and prayed would be the 6 pm Mass in English at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. My hopes and prayers were rewarded! Fr. Mark Miles, who always celebrates that Sunday Mass when he is in town and not travelling with Pope Francis, was indeed the celebrant, joined by a mutual friend of ours. Fr. Simon Donnelly.

Fr. Mark hears confessions after that Mass so I had the joy of receiving that sacrament, always meaningful for me but especially so before vacation travels.

I did not find Masses at four churches yesterday morning but I was doubly blessed at the evening Mass so, as Shakespeare wrote, All’s well that ends well!

By the way, I got to San Giovanni on one of Rome’s new busses as these signs say: ‘Hello, I am one of Rome’s 227 new busses”

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

On Thursday in Italy we celebrate the biggest holiday of the summer season “Ferragosto,” the name Italians give to the August 15 solemnity of the Assumption. Ferragosto refers to the feriae augusti, meaning “holidays of August.”

These appear to have originated in 18 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus declared that the entire month of August would be dedicated to the feriae, a series of festivals and celebrations, the most important of which fell on the 13th and was dedicated to the goddess Diana.

Though the term ferragosto is pagan in origin, in Italy it refers to the mid-summer holidays but is interchangeable with the feast of the Assunta, the Assumption, strictly a religious celebration.

There has been a constant tradition in the Church that Mary was assumed into heaven and, as early as the fifth century, this feast was celebrated in Syria, spreading to other parts of the world over the centuries. In the 12th Century, this feast was celebrated in the city of Rome, and in France. From the 13th century onwards, this was a certain tenet of faith and in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared this dogma infallibly and ex cathedra.

The pace of life is much slower in Rome in July and August, particularly August, and you’ll see a lot of chiuso per ferie (closed for vacation) signs posted on the shutters of stores, pharmacies, florists, some restaurants and coffee bars, newsstands, tobacconists, hardware stores, movie theaters, and small, neighborhood food markets known as alimentari or delicatessens. The phones of friends, including many who work in the Roman Curia, ring empty.

Some of the signs I saw recently as I was running errands –

The peace and quiet of Rome, due to shuttered stores and greatly reduced traffic, is simply marvelous. It seemed like you could shoot a cannon down the middle of some of the city’s main streets and not hit a thing!

The souvenir stores and mini markets that dot every street in Rome will be open for business as usual. The markets open about 7 in the morning and close at or after midnight.

Life is extra quiet in the Vatican as well. When the Pope is away on vacation (or, in Francis’ case, on a reduced work schedule or staycation), this mini-state is almost deserted. The Vatican stores, pharmacy and medical center all have reduced hours because many employees are away on prolonged vacations.

Vacations are quite generous in the summer, at Christmas and at Easter for employees of Vatican City State or the Roman Curia. Employees who live outside of Italy receive an added three days of vacation for travel time and those who live outside of continental Europe receive five additional days. These vacations usually compensate for working six days a week the rest of the year, which makes weekend travel generally impossible.

There are no public and few private audiences when the Pope is on vacation. Curial activity slows down in the summer, and stops completely on August 14, 15 and 16, all holidays. Only the press office and Secretariat of State are open for business, but with only a skeleton staff.

However, the last few years have been a vast improvement over the early years I lived in Italy, especially when there were very few supermarkets. Once upon a time, Italians bought most of their food at three places: the local alimentari, the neighborhood butcher and the local fruit and vegetable store. Each one was assigned a letter – either A or B – for summer vacations. When A stores closed, B could not. And vice versa. This was to avoid all stores in one neighborhood closing at the same time, forcing people to go longer distances for food. Now we have supermarkets.

I can also remember when the local newspapers actually published the names of the few doctors, including specialists, who were available in Rome at vacation time, as well as a list of the few pharmacies that would be open in a given period.

Years ago, many coffee bars and restaurants closed for close to a month in the summer, especially because so few had air-conditioning. Since the historically hot and brutal summer of 2003 (four non-stop months of record heat, ending in mid-September), more and more stores, bars and restaurants have installed air-conditioning. Over 10,000 people died in France that summer, and approximately 1,000 died in Italy.

By law restaurants and bars must close one day a week and that day is always posted outside the entrance or on the shutter. Some overlook this law, while others ask special permission to open on a seventh day. For example, if a restaurant had its weekly closing on a Monday but Monday of a given year was Christmas or Ferragosto, the owner would ask permission from the proper authorities to open that day (or simply open, without the proper permission!).

Until the summer of 2013, Popes generally spent all or much of the summer period at Castelgandolfo. St. John Paul and Benedict XVI often spent some time in July in northern Italy at a vacation home belonging to a diocese or diocesan seminary. Long walks in the woods, picnics, some down time for reading and, in the case of Benedict, quiet time to play the piano, and cooler temps marked those periods.

You really have to spend an August in Rome (especially just before and after ferragosto) to understand its impact – how life here at that time of year is totally different from anything we’d know or have experienced in the U.S.

Aside from the heat that can take your breath away, I love August in Rome. The streets are almost empty, fewer cars means fewer horns honking and, at times it seems there are even fewer ambulances with sirens blasting away. I love that there are fewer motorbikes! I’ve never had a car here – I walk, take a bus or when needed, hail a taxi, As far as busses go in August, there are a lot more seats available!

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

It seems the lazy, hazy days of summer have affected churches as well as stores, offices, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc. that are now, “chiuso per ferie” or closed for the holidays” as we see on the signs they have posted on the storefront.

I decided to sleep in a bit yesterday and not go to the 10:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s as I do every Sunday. A Franciscan-run church near my home has an 11:30 Mass on Sundays and I blithely walked a few blocks only to discover that that Mass is cancelled in July and August! I then took a bus to San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, just across the Tiber River as I knew they had a noon Mass. Not so in summer!

I went to two more churches, one on foot in 100 degree weather and one by bus, as I knew they too had regularly scheduled 12 noon Masses. Again, not in summer, it seems! By the time I had gone to the 4th church, it was 12:10 and I knew I was out of time to find a noon Mass. That meant only one thing – evening Mass!

At 5:45 pm, I left for what I hoped and prayed would be the 6 pm Mass in English at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. My hopes and prayers were rewarded! Fr. Mark Miles, who always celebrates that Sunday Mass when he is in town and not travelling with Pope Francis, was indeed the celebrant, joined by a mutual friend of ours. Fr. Simon Donnelly.

Fr. Mark hears confessions after that Mass so I had the joy of receiving that sacrament, always meaningful for me but especially so before vacation travels.

I did not find Masses at four churches yesterday morning but I was doubly blessed at the evening Mass so, as Shakespeare wrote, All’s well that ends well!

By the way, I got to San Giovanni on one of Rome’s new busses as these signs say: ‘Hello, I am one of Rome’s 227 new busses”

THE LAZY, HAZY SUMMER DAYS OF FERRAGOSTO

On Thursday in Italy we celebrate the biggest holiday of the summer season “Ferragosto,” the name Italians give to the August 15 solemnity of the Assumption. Ferragosto refers to the feriae augusti, meaning “holidays of August.”

These appear to have originated in 18 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus declared that the entire month of August would be dedicated to the feriae, a series of festivals and celebrations, the most important of which fell on the 13th and was dedicated to the goddess Diana.

Though the term ferragosto is pagan in origin, in Italy it refers to the mid-summer holidays but is interchangeable with the feast of the Assunta, the Assumption, strictly a religious celebration.

There has been a constant tradition in the Church that Mary was assumed into heaven and, as early as the fifth century, this feast was celebrated in Syria, spreading to other parts of the world over the centuries. In the 12th Century, this feast was celebrated in the city of Rome, and in France. From the 13th century onwards, this was a certain tenet of faith and in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared this dogma infallibly and ex cathedra.

The pace of life is much slower in Rome in July and August, particularly August, and you’ll see a lot of chiuso per ferie (closed for vacation) signs posted on the shutters of stores, pharmacies, florists, some restaurants and coffee bars, newsstands, tobacconists, hardware stores, movie theaters, and small, neighborhood food markets known as alimentari or delicatessens. The phones of friends, including many who work in the Roman Curia, ring empty.

Some of the signs I saw recently as I was running errands –

The peace and quiet of Rome, due to shuttered stores and greatly reduced traffic, is simply marvelous. It seemed like you could shoot a cannon down the middle of some of the city’s main streets and not hit a thing!

The souvenir stores and mini markets that dot every street in Rome will be open for business as usual. The markets open about 7 in the morning and close at or after midnight.

Life is extra quiet in the Vatican as well. When the Pope is away on vacation (or, in Francis’ case, on a reduced work schedule or staycation), this mini-state is almost deserted. The Vatican stores, pharmacy and medical center all have reduced hours because many employees are away on prolonged vacations.

Vacations are quite generous in the summer, at Christmas and at Easter for employees of Vatican City State or the Roman Curia. Employees who live outside of Italy receive an added three days of vacation for travel time and those who live outside of continental Europe receive five additional days. These vacations usually compensate for working six days a week the rest of the year, which makes weekend travel generally impossible.

There are no public and few private audiences when the Pope is on vacation. Curial activity slows down in the summer, and stops completely on August 14, 15 and 16, all holidays. Only the press office and Secretariat of State are open for business, but with only a skeleton staff.

However, the last few years have been a vast improvement over the early years I lived in Italy, especially when there were very few supermarkets. Once upon a time, Italians bought most of their food at three places: the local alimentari, the neighborhood butcher and the local fruit and vegetable store. Each one was assigned a letter – either A or B – for summer vacations. When A stores closed, B could not. And vice versa. This was to avoid all stores in one neighborhood closing at the same time, forcing people to go longer distances for food. Now we have supermarkets.

I can also remember when the local newspapers actually published the names of the few doctors, including specialists, who were available in Rome at vacation time, as well as a list of the few pharmacies that would be open in a given period.

Years ago, many coffee bars and restaurants closed for close to a month in the summer, especially because so few had air-conditioning. Since the historically hot and brutal summer of 2003 (four non-stop months of record heat, ending in mid-September), more and more stores, bars and restaurants have installed air-conditioning. Over 10,000 people died in France that summer, and approximately 1,000 died in Italy.

By law restaurants and bars must close one day a week and that day is always posted outside the entrance or on the shutter. Some overlook this law, while others ask special permission to open on a seventh day. For example, if a restaurant had its weekly closing on a Monday but Monday of a given year was Christmas or Ferragosto, the owner would ask permission from the proper authorities to open that day (or simply open, without the proper permission!).

Until the summer of 2013, Popes generally spent all or much of the summer period at Castelgandolfo. St. John Paul and Benedict XVI often spent some time in July in northern Italy at a vacation home belonging to a diocese or diocesan seminary. Long walks in the woods, picnics, some down time for reading and, in the case of Benedict, quiet time to play the piano, and cooler temps marked those periods.

You really have to spend an August in Rome (especially just before and after ferragosto) to understand its impact – how life here at that time of year is totally different from anything we’d know or have experienced in the U.S. How a major city almost becomes a ghost city!

Aside from the heat that can take your breath away, I love August in Rome. The streets are almost empty, fewer cars means fewer horns honking and, at times it seems there are even fewer ambulances with sirens blasting away. I love that there are fewer motorbikes! I’ve never had a car here – I walk, take a bus or when needed, hail a taxi, As far as busses go in August, there are a lot more seats available

VATICAN INSIDER: A VISIT WITH TWO RANGERS – VATICANSTATE.VA, AN UPDATED WEBSITE FOR VATICAN CITY

VATICAN INSIDER: A VISIT WITH TWO RANGERS

This week I offer a somewhat unusual edition of Vatican Insider’s interview segment -unusual in the how and where I recorded the segment with Franziska from Cologne, Germany and Alexandra from Warsaw, Poland. These two amazing young ladies were in Rome last weekend for the August 3 meeting that Pope Francis had with an estimated 5,000 participants of Euromoot, an international Catholic scout gathering attended by boys and girls aged 16 to 21 coming from 20 nations.

Franziska and Alexandra, as all the scouts who came to Rome, belong to the International Union of the Guides and Scouts of Europe (UISGE) In fact, they both work with UISGE in the communications field. (Franziska L and Alexandra R)


Euromoot is scout jargon for an international gathering of Rangers (Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and Rovers (Boy Scouts). So join me on Vatican Insider and you’ll meet two Rangers of the scouting movement!

Our conversation followed a morning audience with Pope Francis and then Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. In the early afternoon, there was no possibility to find a quiet venue such as a studio for our conversation so we stopped off at Homebaked as it was close to our meeting point and not far from their next appointment. And it had air conditioning! There was the occasional background sound of voices and a few times it sounded like a plane had landed near out table so I ask your indulgence as you listen to our conversation. As I mention at the start of our conversation, you can even hear a milkshake being made!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

VATICANSTATE.VA, AN UPDATED WEBSITE FOR VATICAN CITY

It’s been around a few months now and there’s still some work to do on the new website for Vatican City State but it is a good start as it offers terrific photos and many interesting articles, although most are in Italian. The previous website for Vatican City had been translated in five languages and when I tried to find English on the new site, I got nowhere. So, I went to the url (https://www.vaticanstate.va/it) and simply changed the ‘it’ for Italian to ‘en’ for English and it worked. Not for other languages, however.

To find a few articles in English, click here: https://www.vaticanstate.va/en Then go to the table of contents (the three little lines in the upper right hand corner) and click on a topic that may interest you (I repeat, not all are in English, no matter what the table of contents implies!). Not all topics are clickable. You might get a 404 ERROR!

One thing I do miss was all the information the former website provided about visiting Vatican City, the gardens, the Museums, Castelgandolfo, the Scavi, St. Peter’s Basilica, climbing to the dome, etc. I put that info (telephone numbers, fax numbers, emails, etc) in my book on the Holy Year and I have a copy in my travel folder in my computer. I’ll publish that in a day or two – just make you keep a copy for yourself as you will not find the info on the new website.

Here is one offering in English on Vatican City State itself:

Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11, 1929. These were ratified on June 7, 1929. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under international law.

The Catholic Church carries out its mission of announcing the truth of the Gospel for the salvation of all humanity and in the service of peace and justice in favour of all peoples, both through the various specific and local Churches spread throughout the world, as well as through its central government.

This is made up of the Pope and the Departments that assist him in carrying out his responsibilities towards the universal Church (identified as the Apostolic See or Holy See). The Pope lives in Vatican City where several of the aforementioned Departments are to be found.

Vatican City State has the singular characteristic of being an instrument of the independence of the Holy See, and of the Catholic Church, from any earthly power. In a way, it is a sign of the Church’s supernatural character insofar as the structures of Vatican City are reduced to the minimum necessary to guarantee its functions.

(Click here for a map – https://www.vaticanstate.va/en/state-government/general-informations/origins-nature.html)

Vatican City lies just beyond the right bank of the Tiber River on a slight rise, part of the ancient Montes Vaticani (the Vatican Hill), on which several villas were built in pre-Christian times.

The Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41AD) had a private circus built here. It appears that many Christians living in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-68AD) were martyred in this circus and in the adjoining gardens.

St Peter was buried to the north of the circus, in a necropolis that lay beside a secondary road. Between 324 and 326 AD, the Emperor Constantine built a magnificent basilica over the burial site. It was replaced by the present Basilica between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Vatican City covers a territory of 44 hectares (roughly 108.7 acres). It is partly surrounded by walls and stretches into St Peter’\’s Square as far as a strip of travertine stone that corresponds with the furthest end of the colonnade. This marks the boundary of the State and the edge of the square that is normally open to everyone. Even though it is part of Vatican City, the Square is usually patrolled by members of the Italian Police Force.

There are five entrances to Vatican City, each of them guarded by the Pontifical Swiss Guards and by the Gendarmes Corps of Vatican City State. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano, not far from Piazza del Risorgimento.

Because Vatican City is so small, several departments and offices belonging to the Holy See are situated in buildings around Rome (Piazza Pio XII, Via della Conciliazione, Piazza San Callisto, Piazza della Cancelleria and Piazza di Spagna). According to the Lateran Treaty, these buildings enjoy the same status, recognized by international law, as embassies and foreign diplomatic missions abroad.

The areas occupied by these buildings are commonly known as “extraterritorial”.

The population of Vatican City is about 800 people, of whom over 450 have Vatican citizenship, while the rest have permission to reside there, either temporarily or permanently, without the benefit of citizenship.

About half of the Vatican’s citizens do not live inside Vatican City. Because of their occupations (mostly as diplomatic personnel), they live in different countries around the world. The conferral or loss of citizenship, authorization to live inside Vatican City and formalities for entering the territory, are governed by special regulations issued according to the Lateran Treaty.

There are two sets of initials that identify vehicles registered in the Vatican Automobile Register: SCV (Stato della Citta del Vaticano) for vehicles belonging to the Vatican City State and departments of the Holy See; CV (Citta del Vaticano) for vehicles that are the property of Vatican citizens and individuals who, in agreement with Italian authorities, are allowed to register their vehicles in Vatican City. The international abbreviation is V.

(JFL: For decades, Italians (and a number of Vatican employees) have said that SVC really means “Se Cristo vedesse!” (If only Christ could see!”)