The solemnity of All Saints is a holiday throughout Italy as well as in the Vatican, as you might imagine, and Rome, once again, was overflowing with visitors. To be honest, we’ve had huge crowds here for months and the beautiful Indian summer weather has surely been part of the draw for the massive crowds, convincing people to travel and enjoy some time off.

Millions of Italians took Monday off of work, creating a “ponte” or bridge between the weekend and the holiday. Finding a table in a restaurant, even a coffee bar, was probably the biggest challenge of the day, as I saw when I went to a friend’s restaurant in Piazza Navona after Mass at the Chiesa Nuova.

My intention had been to go to Homebaked for brunch but it was closed today, as it is every Tuesday, even though there had been hints it would be open. Even La Vittoria was closed, as it normally is on Tuesdays. Much-deserved time off for the staff of both eateries who have been satisfying big crowds almost non-stop! It was too glorious to stay at home, thus the choice to go to beautiful, colourful, historical Navona and enjoy a good meal and do some people-watching.

After lunch I went to visit a St. Patrick parishioner, our beloved Maria Lina Martin who last month turned 102. She had a fall some weeks back but broke nothing, thank the Lord and, from all appearances and her smile and story-telling ability, she is doing well and cannot wait to be back at Mass. Photo taken outside St. Pat’s a few months ago.

The best part of any day is Mass, and I went to one of my favorite churches this morning, Chiesa Nuova (the official name is Santa Maria di Vallicella).

The entire sanctuary area under the dome is being restored so there is scaffolding but here are some photos of the chapel on the left aisle where St. Philip Neri is buried. The church is also known as the church of the Oratorians that he founded. The last photo is of the stunning sacristy, a masterpiece in wood. I prayed a while in this chapel for all the saintly people who are or have been in my life!

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Above everything on this splendid feast day, we should never forget that our entire life is dedicated, should be dedicated, to some day joining the heavenly hosts of saints, to live our lives as the saints before us did, following in the footsteps of Christ and embracing any crosses He sends us with joy and love.

Here is a link so that you too can visit Chiesa Nuova in all her glory! The Chiesa Nuova in Rome – Walks in Rome (Est. 2001)