Close encounters with Romans, classes and visits to church

More from Brendan Johnson’s journal: June 9, 2010

        Finished the second day of classes with Bishop.Morlino, and a very good day too.  We had a slight review of Monday’s material, then went on to discuss the nature of the identity of the priest both in the sacramental character and the mission of the priest.

Bishop Morlino after class

 The bishop spent a lot of time emphasizing the very personal nature of the imposition of the sacramental character during the laying on of hands – particularly he focused on the silence and pointed out that this time is to be a silent one in which the Holy Spirit has the most intimate conversation with the priest that he can ever have. In this conversation, the Holy Spirit both claims the man as His own in a more complete and real way than has ever been done before, and gives the nature and the call of the mission to that particular priest.  This leads into the second part of the identity of the priest, wherein he is commissioned under obedience to his bishop to work for the salvation of souls. This mission must be united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or it will be fruitless in its exercise because it does not have the life and the depth of love that can only extend from that Heart. Obviously, this provided much material for meditation and prayer – the bishop is a wise man!

            Our afternoon outing with Fr. Baker led us to our first experience of the bus system in Rome. It seems to work pretty well, but the Italians have no concept of a bus being too full until you literally can’t fit any more people on the bus, because everyone is so packed in there that you couldn’t get anyone on if you tried. On the ride over to the other side of town the bus was very full and we experienced what it means to ride the bus in Rome – with all the closeness that anyone could ever want (and then some!). After our “close” encounter we made our way to St. John Lateran where we were able to see the first Church of Rome (in fact, the front has an inscription that tells you that it is the first church of all of the cities of the world). It was very nice inside, but there was a conference going on in conjunction with the year of the priest, so it was a little hard to look around, but we were able to make a quick visit to their Adoration chapel, which was very nice. From there we went to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme where St. Helen brought the relics of the true cross, and where several other items from the crucifixion are on display for veneration. That was wonderful as well, but a bit disappointing too because the original chapel built by St. Helen was already occupied by a bishop and many priests saying Mass – so we’ll have to revisit both of these churches in the future to see it all.

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