When in Rome ….

The old saying goes: “do as the Romans do”!  I’m not so sure I’m doing that but I am in Rome.  I came here for the wedding of some friends – a girl I know since her childhood days in Collooney and the man she is marrying – Nicola and James.  Tomorrow we will have that celebration.  Last night I met them with some of their family members and we went for pizza so that’s fairly Roman I think.  It was very enjoyable.  We laughed as much as we ate and that can’t be bad.

Spent a bit of time watching Street Entertainers on Piazza Navona.  These people always amaze me.  Such a variety of talents on display and so many there to take in the various shows.  It’s a good experience.  One of the men I watched was spray painting a “masterpiece” and I decided to capture the moment!  Thought about capturing the picture too but didn’t go that far.  Wondered how easily it could be transported to Kilmovee:)


I slept in for a while today (best blinds ever so the room was dark until I chose to let the light in  – sorry Leonard, no cracks that I noticed!!).  I had in mind to visit the Irish College today.  I’ve been there a number of times but not in recent years.  I know some of the priests on staff but none of the students.  In any case I got on the Metro and a few stops later was beside St John Lateran Basilica – regarded as the major church in Rome, even ahead of St Peter’s.  It’s a very impressive building.  A few years ago I celebrated a Wedding Mass in the little Baptistry beside the Basilica and was happy to see that again too.  A little prayer there for Anne and Derek and some good memories of a very enjoyable few days spent with both of them and their families.

Basilica of St John Lateran

Basilica of St John Lateran

Interior View

Interior View

Though I didn’t think to take photos of them, one of the things I love about this Basilica is that around the walls of it are twelve life size statues of the Twelve Apostles.  It is as if they are still keeping a watchful eye on the Church.  A consoling thought for sure.

(Sunday 7th September:  Update!  I went back there today and was able to attend Evening Mass.  It was powerful to see this Basilica in its role as a place for the Faithful to gather in prayer.  I noticed Confessions were also taking place but not in English so I had to give that one a miss!  Could have been my chance to go to someone who didn’t understand me:) I stayed on for Mass and was happy to do so.  The priest sounded very like Pope Francis in his tone and delivery.  After Mass I took photos of the twelve.  Only then did I notice that Judas’ place is taken by Paul – the Apostle called from the Road to Damascus.)


From there I went to the Irish College – one of our National Seminaries – and spent a bit of time there.  I was disappointed that the staff member I know best was not there as I’d like to have had the chance to meet him when I was local.  I went to the College Chapel and said Morning Prayer there (okay, I told you I got up late – darkened room and all!!)  I remembered family and friends there.  A special remembrance too for that poor family in Cork as they struggle to come to terms with such a terrible loss.  God help them one and all.

The College Chapel was re-designed in recent years.  It is a very engaging Prayer Space and its imagery and mosaics speak loudly and proudly of Ireland.  This is hugely appropriate since it is literally a piece of Ireland in the heart of the Church’s landscape.

Sanctuary of Irish College Chapel, Rome

Sanctuary of Irish College Chapel, Rome

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Interior of Chapel, Irish College Rome

Interior of Chapel, Irish College Rome

I left the Irish College, glad to have paid a visit and decided to get some lunch in a nearby restaurant.  On my way I saw something very Roman – very Italian that brought me back many years to Mullaghroe and a woman called Clare Horan (R.I.P.) whose widowed husband Gerry was ordained a priest the same year as myself (God rest them both) – anyway, I digress – what did I see?  What Roman landmark reminded me of Clare and Gerry?  The Colosseum?  Spanish Steps?  Trevvi Fountain?

Not at all …. it was this

The Fiat 500!!

The Fiat 500!!

Later in the evening I went to St Peter’s where I spent a bit of time. The Basilica was closed and very few people around.  Had a lovely chat with a priest I know and met a couple on the Square with Donegal and Kildare connections.  They were good people and we talked for a while.  Struck me how much this place means to people.

Glad to be here too

Glad to be here too

St Peter's at a quieter time

St Peter’s at a quieter time


We had the ceremony a little earlier today (Saturday 6th) in St Isodore’s Church.  A very old and beautiful church it is looked after by Franciscans of the Irish Province.  Fr Michael made us all very welcome and could not have been more helpful.

After the Wedding Mass with Anita, Nicola, James and (Tall) Paul

After the Wedding Mass with Anita, Nicola, James and (Tall) Paul

The reception was a lively affair.  An excellent band P-51 Airplanes gave its all!  Excellent musicians.  (I recorded one song that I’ll put on YouTube at some stage)  There was a mighty atmosphere and everyone totally enjoyed the night, the music, the food and the craic.  Not least myself!  Met some fine people along the way and that’s always a bonus.

Two musicians provided some background music as we awaited the evening meal.  They played a variety of tunes and then one of them asked me where we were from and I said “Ireland” which brought the following selection!



Nicola surprised us all with a lovely song “Savc the last dance for me”.  Unfortunately the lighthing was low at the time and the camera (phone) and cameraman (me) were not able to make up the gaps!!  Anyway, I think it captures a nice moment worth remebering.

Here’s a song from P51-Airplanes.  Just decided to take a shot and the man on the keyboard spotted me and rose to the occasion!  Though not the nicest or most enjoyable of the songs performed it shows something of their talent and commitment to their passion!


On Sunday I went to Mass in St Isodore’s and joined two of the Franciscans there for Sunday Mass.  Afterwards we had a cup of tea and a chat together with those who attended the Sunday Mass there.  Felt very welcome and I’m sure this church means a great deal to those who see it as “their own” as a place for prayer and worship.  From there I went to St Peter’s for the Sunday Angelus and address by Pope Francis.  Sadly my language limitations did not allow me to fully grasp what he was saying but the mention of “Ukraine” assured me he was calling us to pray for peace in a very troubled world. In a later translation I notice he told us to be careful even of our words as they have the potential to kill.  The Square was thronged with people of all nationalities and ages.  A great experience of the Universal Church and a reminder, as if needed, how much Pope Francis means to people.

As mentioned above I went back to St John Lateran Basilica today.  I wanted to go there again.  Mass was on so I was pleased to attend that and to have the chance to take the pictures of the Apostles’ Statues that are central to the Basilica.

Tonight I met the wedding people again.  We had a very pleasant evening and I am back again in the hotel, getting ready for bed and the journey home tomorrow.  It has been a very good few days and I’m glad to have been part of it.

Kilmovee tomorrow!  That’s good too.


  1. Thank You Fr. Vincent You are a man and a half for sharing all those lovely pictures and memories of your time in Rome with Nicola and James. I can’t wait for the song on utube later. Really felt I was there with your guide of the city many thanks and safe journey home to Kilmovee

  2. Margaret Mc Guinness

    Thank you Fr Vincent. You are amazing. Your beautiful mass set the tone for the entire day and now we see that even behind the scenes you worked tirelessly to spread the joy. We missed you in Rome last night just a few friends and fewer family left standing there. We went to the Colosseum earlier in the day and later had a quiet little meal in a new place and then all off home for an early night for our early starts this morning.

    Hope you arrived safely back to Kilmovee. God Bless you.

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