Life in Italy

Sunday at the Castel

This morning our usual morning Mass plans at our parish were drowned in an unexpected spring rainstorm, forcing a last-minute substitution at our actual geographical parish (I’m assuming Rome does it that way) which was an immersion experience par excellence. Anyway, it looks like this:

It’s actually a dead ringer for Dave’s home parish in South Bend, IN. No offense, mom and dad.

I mean, I guess when St. Peter’s Basilica is literally in your line of sight, you just give up, architecturally speaking.

Ugliness aside, the pastor at this parish is great. I think. I’ve only met him once and he machine gunned Italian at me while asking for my phone number and soliciting promises that we’d come to 3 or 12 events the parish is sponsoring this month for the ‘festa di famiglia’ or something like that. But he seemed awesome. And he did call me the very next day, I’m pretty sure, though I was so overcome with excitement that the voice on the other end of the line might be the post man delivering our modem that I yelled into the phone I’d be home in 2 minutes before hanging up and bolting down the block from my favorite coffee bar to meet him in the lobby. Nobody was there. Not in 2 minutes, and not in 20. In retrospect, perhaps it had been Fr. Luciano calling…

Anyway, longest tangent ever to say Mass this morning was an absolute circus. The music was good, kind of Steubie-esque in Italian, if that makes sense. And it was First Communion so oh my gosh all those adorable kiddos processing in with their candles, and later bringing up gifts of bread and bottles of Italian wine and cans of … tuna. Weird.

But the spectators. Oh my gosh, if you’ve ever been to Mass on Christmas or Easter in the States, multiply that effect by about a thousand and you have an idea of what a sacramental event in Italy looks like. Weddings or First Communions, it doesn’t matter, it will bring out the second-cousins-twice-removed who have been to church exactly twice in their lifetimes, and they may or may not bring their pocket chihuahuas in their dog purses.

We are talking stilletos everywhere. Fishnet stockings. Dudes wandering in and out of the sanctuary to smoke cigarettes. Children racing up and down the aisles (oh, wait, those were my own unchurched heathens…) and some of the nicest and the scariest outfits you will ever seen in a religious service. Armani suit? Check. Shredded daisy dukes layered over tribal print leggings with 4 inch platform heels? Check.

Anyway, we were more irreverent than the whole crowd combined since we bolted after Communion, and didn’t even go back inside after we finished our cigs.

Later on once the weather cleared up we redeemed our Lord’s Day with a leisurely stroll through throngs and throngs of tourists and pilgrims alike and headed to our favorite park, at the base of Castel San’tangelo.

It’s one of the nicest playgrounds in Rome, which means there is hardly any graffiti, the equipment is in good shape, and there is soft rubber padding underneath that is mostly intact.

I have about a million adorable pictures of the boys and lucky for you, Blogger is tired tonight so all you get is this unsuspecting park-goer posing in front of the jungle gym. But dig those Roman pine trees in the background.


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