I hope you enjoyed my post yesterday – and my role! – in the Joseph Dutton cause for canonization!   Amazing times ahead!

There is a short piece below on today’s liturgical feast of the dedication of the Roman basilicas of Sts. Peter and St. Paul’s Outside the walls in Rome. Both churches were built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine. Interestingly enough, as you will see, at one point a colonnade linked the two basilicas notwithstanding the fact they are separated by just under 3 miles! It would be fascinating to see a photo or some artwork on that colonnade. I’ll be dedicating a Special to St. Paul’s on my weekend radio show, Vatican Insider.

I had to leave my apartment today for a brief period because of the extreme noise caused by drilling that was taking place about 10 feet from my desk. I actually taped it and sent it to a radio colleague to give her some idea of what I was going through. We are in our 14th month of re-do on our block-long building. The first 10 months involved the cleaning of the facade, then two months cleaning the back of the building (our balconies, like those outside my bedrooms and office) and now they are totally making over the interior! New walls have been put up on the ground floor and they are a depressing, very dark, almost black, gray marble texture! I will post some photos of the before and after one of these days.

I ran an errand at the Vatican and on the way over I saw this: A man was trying to drive a car down the steps of an underground passageway leading from the Vatican area across the main street, Via di Porta Cavalleggeri. Many people tried to explain that there was no way on the other side he could exit. There were only steeper and very narrow steps. I have no idea how but he managed to turn the car around and come back – and got a talking to from one of the Italian Army officers who guard this side of the Vatican. Those of you who know this underground walkway are surely incredulous!

And then this: it was a day of wondrously beautiful weather and St. Peter’s Square was enchanting!


The church for Catholic Americans and English-speaking Catholics in Rome is St. Patrick’s (San Patrizio) on Via Boncompagni in the center of Rome, just blocks from the U.S. Embassy on Via Veneto. If you have plans to come to Rome, you will first want to explore our new and improved website:

It just went up two days ago so I hope you enjoy travelling around the Eternal City, getting behind-the-scenes tips and a ton of other information! Very often I am a lector at the 10:30 Mass on Sunday (there is also a 9am Mass) so if you go to that Mass, come over and say HI!


( – St. Peter’s is probably the most famous church in Christendom. Massive in scale and a veritable museum of art and architecture, it began on a much humbler scale. Vatican Hill was a simple cemetery where believers gathered at Saint Peter’s tomb to pray. In 319, Constantine built a basilica on the site that stood for more than a thousand years until, despite numerous restorations, it threatened to collapse. In 1506, Pope Julius II ordered it razed and reconstructed, but the new basilica was not completed and dedicated for more than two centuries.

St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls stands near the Abaazia delle Tre Fontane, where Saint Paul is believed to have been beheaded. The largest church in Rome until St. Peter’s was rebuilt, the basilica also rises over the traditional site of its namesake’s grave. The most recent edifice was constructed after a fire in 1823. The first basilica was also Constantine’s doing.

Constantine’s building projects enticed the first of a centuries-long parade of pilgrims to Rome. From the time the basilicas were first built until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.


Peter, the rough fisherman whom Jesus named the rock on which the Church is built, and the educated Paul, reformed persecutor of Christians, Roman citizen, and missionary to the gentiles, are the original odd couple. The major similarity in their faith-journeys is the journey’s end: both, according to tradition, died a martyr’s death in Rome—Peter on a cross and Paul beneath the sword. Their combined gifts shaped the early Church and believers have prayed at their tombs from the earliest days.