“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

June 10, 2014


Monday, 2 June: This morning we attended Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, followed by a tour of the basilica and the Vatican necropolis. We also had time to pray individually in the basilica, and I chose to do so in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. As I knelt before the tabernacle to pray Lauds, the opening verse for the first psalm (Psalm 84) gave perfect expression to my thoughts: “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts. My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord.” Visiting the great churches and basilicas of Rome, one can easily fall into the role of the tourist, forgetting the spiritual significance of a site of pilgrimage. Here, in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord, surrounded by art and architecture by some of the greatest artists, such as Bernini, Borromini, and da Cortona, I was reminded before all else that this is the dwelling place of the Lord: Hic Domus Dei est et porta caeli (this is the House of God and gate of heaven). The magnificence and beauty of the art and architecture there serves this purpose: it is a noble space for the Sacred Liturgy and dwelling of the Lord, a fitting shrine for his saints (first and foremost in this great basilica, St. Peter the Apostle), and a testimony to our faith. This experience in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel shaped my travels to the numerous other basilicas and churches this week, reminding me of the primary spiritual purpose of these visits.

Tuesday, 3 June: Our schedule today included trips to the Catacombs of St. Callistus and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The highlight for me was a short visit that I made to the Basilica of St. Sebastian, about a ten minute walk from the Catacombs of St. Callistus. Since we were given some time to walk around, I decided to take an old road surrounded by the Roman countryside that lead to the Basilica of St. Sebastian. I thought to myself that the view from that road of the quiet country was a view shared by the early Christians as well as countless pilgrims to Rome throughout the centuries before the great urban sprawl of the twentieth century swallowed up the majority of the open land surrounding the old city walls. The peaceful silence of that walk served as a prayerful preparation for my pilgrimage to the Basilica and shrine of St. Sebastian. As the bodies of the martyrs had been removed from the catacombs and placed in the churches of Rome, it was good to be able to pray before the tomb of one of those great martyrs that had once rested in ancient catacombs.

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Rome Experience 2010, days 11-12

November 17, 2010

June 2-3, 2010 — from the travel journal of seminarian Jeffrey Gardner

The eleventh day was focused on class. We had our typical morning schedule of prayer, Mass and breakfast, followed by two hours of class with Fr. Heisler and his course on church history.  The history course was amazing, because it tied together so many of the courses I have taken in seminary.   The class was presented in such a way as to make it very clear that all of history and everything that contemporary man does is absolutely centered on Christ and his Church.

Rome Experience 2010 seminarian Jeff Gardner

  In the afternoon, Fr. Cassian Folsom taught a liturgy course.  The class with Father Cassian focused on the liturgy after Vatican II.  The main point is that liturgy is the work of God, and that with a proper understanding and execution of the liturgy of Vatican II, the Church can correct many problems she is having.  The Eucharist is our source and summit; we must always rest in the graces given by this most Blessed Sacrament.

            These classes prepared us for our arrival in Rome, making us ready to understand all the history that we were about to experience in the Eternal City.


History, laundry and the novelty of being a novelty

June 18, 2010

More from Brendan Johnson’s Rome Experience journal on June 4, 2010:

Today was a relatively easy day: classes in the morning, with Fr. Heisler finishing up his sketch of Church history and the importance of Rome and Vatican II. The end was particularly interesting, and covered the importance of Vatican II and its mode of addressing the world, not simply via decrees and canons, but instead calling the people to holiness in a radical way that calls for a deep faith and conversion.

The afternoon was free because Fr. Cassian was unable to come to give us another talk on the liturgy, which was a disappointment, but it gave a free afternoon. So I was able to finish some laundry and walk around town a little bit, which is incredibly quaint and beautiful –- so it’s a joy to have some extra time to stroll.

After dinner a group of us went down into the town to have a gelato and talk for a while. It was a lot of fun and showed us yet again what a sight we are, even in Italy. Two women stood about 10 feet from where we were eating our gelato outside the café and stared at us for about two or three minutes. It has been baffling to me, and somewhat sad, how much of a novelty we are as we move about in our clerics –- but at the same time it is good for them to see us out and about and happy!

First day of classes

June 10, 2010

More from Brendan Johnson’s journal:

June 2, 2010

After the trip to Assisi, we had our first day of classes and a more regularized schedule today. The first classes of the morning were on Church history with Fr. Heisler and were his typical classes —   a lot of information!

In the afternoon, we had a class with Fr. Cassian, OSB, the prior of the monastery here in Norcia.  He spoke on Liturgy and primarily focused on the Holy Father’s views on liturgy, which were quite enlightening.  Fr. Cassian explained there was much reform to be done, but Pope Benedict isn’t seeking to change things overnight;  rather, he has a deep desire to allow the Church to reform herself,  and, over the next generation, allow the people to grow into a deeper reverence and a newness within the organic growth of the Liturgy.  Tomorrow , he’ll speak on how exactly that is to look over the next few decades and what would be logical within the proper growth of the Church – this I am eagerly looking forward to!

Kevin Hurley and Thomas Haan in Assisi

Remembering Thomas Ongige, Rome Experience 2009 alumnus

March 25, 2010

Thomas Ongige, Rome Experience 2009 alumnus, was laid to rest on February 23, 2010 following the Mass of Christian Burial at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.  The Mass, partly in English and partly in Swahili, was celebrated by Most Rev. Joseph Perry, bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago and concelebrated by Very Rev. Dennis J. Lyle, rector of the seminary, with a homily delivered by Rev. Kombo Peshu, pastor of St. Simeon’s Church in Bellwood, IL.  The Mass bulletin is reproduced below:

New DVD on the new English Missal by Rome Experience professor, Msgr. James Moroney

March 22, 2010

Coming Soon on DVD:
A New Translation for a New Roman Missal
Rev. Msgr. Moroney gives a refreshing introduction to the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Featuring:Rev. Msgr. James P. Moroney
Rector, St. Paul Cathedral
Faculty, St. John Seminary
Executive Secretary, Vox Clara Committee
Price:US$20.00 US$10.00
Save 50% if you pre-order by April 30, 2010

Order Now: pre-order securely online at https://www.theologicalforum.org/product.asp?ci=31&pi=410

About this DVD:
In anticipation of the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, we are pleased to offer a new DVD featuring Rev. Msgr. James P. Moroney, Executive Secretary of the Vox Clara Committee (created by the Holy See in 2002 to advise the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on the translation of Roman Catholic liturgical books into English). Msgr. Moroney gives a refreshing introduction to the historical background of the Roman Missal, explaining why these translations are important and how they developed. He also takes an in-depth look at the changes to various Mass prayers, including the Confiteor (“I Confess to Almighty God…”), the Gloria (“Glory to God in the Highest…”), and the Ecce Agnus Dei (“Behold the Lamb of God…”).
This DVD is a helpful guide for bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, and the laity, providing a fertile ground in which to develop a new and insightful appreciation for the Sacred Liturgy and the rich, authentic text of the new English translation, as well as serving as a useful tool for pastoral preparation and catechesis of the lay faithful.
Contents of this DVD:
Main Presentation by Msgr. James Moroney
Interviews with members of the Vox Clara Committee
Interviews with
Cardinal Francis Arinze
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares
Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I.
Archbishop Alfred Hughes
Rev. Anthony Ward, S.M.
Eucharistic Prayers by Rev. Msgr. James P. Moroney

About Monsignor James P. Moroney:
 Rev. Msgr. James P. Moroney, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester for the past twenty-nine years, is rector of Saint Paul Cathedral and serves as a member of the faculty of Saint John Seminary in Boston. He pursued graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Liturgy Institute at Sant’Anselmo, and the Catholic University of America. A past chairman of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, Msgr. Moroney was Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat for the Liturgy from 1996 to 2007. Pope John Paul II appointed him as a consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Pope Benedict XVI reappointed him as a consultor to the Congregation, wherein he also serves as Executive Secretary to the Vox Clara Committee. Msgr. Moroney is a frequent lecturer on liturgical matters, having addressed more than 17,000 priests and deacons in recent years at the invitation of close to one hundred bishops. Msgr. Moroney was a member of the Rome Experience 2009 faculty and taught a liturgy course.

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