Back in Chilworth and on my way home to Cincinnati
I am back in Chilworth, England after spending a night in Rome and then waiting at Fiumicino airport for four hours for a delayed trip back to London. Fr. Patrick, the Vocation Director for the British Province, kindly met me at Gatwick Airport in London and drove me back here last evening. I am using the friars' computer so I can relax and take the time to type this post. (I noticed a few typos in the last one which I did hurriedly in Assisi.)
The pictures above are of the interior of Chiesa Nuova which is a little church over the spot where Francis is purported to have been born and reared. I attended Mass there Sunday morning. The picture on the right is of the Porziuncola, the little chapel of Our Lady of the Angels, where Francis really founded the Order and outside of which he died. As you can see, the little chapel, which is one of the chapels that Francis rebuilt, is surrounded by a huge basilica which, to me, seems ironically ornate for a memorial to the simplicity in which Francis and the early friars lived at the Porziuncola. (I took the picture in a hurry "on the sly" so it isn't real clear.)
Sunday afternoon I took the train from Assisi to Rome and was again met at the Roma Termini by Fr. Joy Prakash, a friar from India, who proved to be a guardian angel for me on this trip. We took some VERY crowded buses back toward the Curia Generale (headquarters for the Franciscan Order) where I stayed while in Rome and met two other friars for a lovely outdoor dinner. (Brother Jim who is from the Sacred Heart Province in St. Louis, MO and Fr. Finian McGinn, the English speaking Councilor to the General Minister, who is from Santa Barbara Province in California.) When I got back to my room I tried again to get a night shot of Saint Peter's dome right outside my window and this time I succeeded. Yesterday morning I went out the front door of the Curia and took the daytime shot of the back of the basilica. While having breakfast, I met and talked with the General Minister of the Order. He is from Spain and speaks very good English, so we were able to communicate well.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, I fly back to Cincinnati. I will offer a reflection on the pilgrimage when I get settled back into my office on Thursday or Friday. I leave you today with a few shots of Assisi: the dormitory at San Damiano where Saint Clare died, a typical passageway connecting two streets, the Rocca Maggiore as seen from the Piazza of Saint Clare, and a "proof" that I was actually at the Basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli wherein is the Porziuncola. (The picture was taken by Ivan, the young man from Australia whom I befriended last Friday.)
Next post from the USA.