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!


I’d like to wish all of my readers a very happy and special JULY 4TH!

I hope we all have time today to reflect on the foundations of the wonderful land in which we live, on the ideas and ideals that prompted our Founding Fathers to sign the Declaration of Independence. July 4 is the day that ‎Thomas Jefferson and 55 others – delegates to the Continental Congress – ratified this now-celebrated document.

There was a Catholic who signed the Declaration of Independence – Charles Carroll, a member of the famous Maryland family of John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in this United States.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was one of four Marylanders to sign the Declaration of Independence. Carroll was the only Roman Catholic and the last survivor of all 56 signers dying in 1832 in his 96th year. Charles Carroll and his family played a major role in the framing of the governance of Maryland and the emerging United States. Carroll’s accomplishments and persistent efforts to promote and establish the concept of religious toleration were embodied in the founding documents and laws of our country still used today for “all men who are created equal.”  (http://charlescarrollhouse.org/the-carrolls/personal-biography-2)

When was the last time you read the Declaration of Independence?

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America


“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…..(image from military.com)

Continue here for full text: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/


Pope Francis on Tuesday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for July, which this month is “For priests and their pastoral ministry”.


In his prayer intention for the month of July 2018, Pope Francis said: “Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.”

It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.

The full text of his intention follows:
The tiredness of priests… Do you know how often I think about it?
Priests, with their virtues and defects, work in many different areas.
Working on so many active fronts, they cannot remain inactive after a disappointment.

At such times, it’s good for them to remember that the people love their priests, need them, and trust in them.

Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed “The Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. (vaticannews)


As you know the Vatican’s cricket team left several days ago for the UK for a tourney of goodwill and friendship and strengthening interfaith relations The team, whose official name is St. Peter’s Cricket Club, was established in 2013 and all players are seminarians in Rome.

If you want to follow their UK adventures, you can do so here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vaticancricketclub/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VaticanCricket