Back in Blighty
Well, I’m back after an exhilarating week and a half in Italy - and one or two stressful moments, courtesy of the Italian train system. I will, of course, gradually post a full account of my various travels, though I’m not able to include photos from my camera til next week.
A priest 'on tour' is able to celebrate Mass in many privileged spots. For me this last week, these ranged from a mountain chapel dedicated to an obscure hermit, St Viviano, to the tomb of my patron, St Nicholas, at Bari; from a wayside Tuscan shrine to the chapel of the Domus Romana Sacerdotalis, a stone’s throw away from St Peter’s; from the church in the hilltop village of Roggio, near Lucca (where I celebrated the Sunday parish Mass in Latin and broken Italian due to the lack of a resident priest) to the Holy House of Loreto [above], where, as I said the words of consecration (Hoc est enim Corpus meum), I was very aware of the words written above the altar (Hic Verbum caro factum est).
This was due, in part, to the boldness of my travelling companion, Fr Marcus Holden, who was not afraid to enter any sacristy and ask for an altar. Of course, this is not neccessarily straightforward - the Dominican friars at Bari even insisted on photocopying our celebrets (which took about 20 minutes) - but if you are prepared to play along, there is a rich reward.
I suspect foreign priests on holiday in this country would find it even more of an uphill battle to arrange Masses in our churches!