I have just returned from our celebration of Pentecost at Saint Peter's Basillica! It was awesome! No really, I sat in awe as the Basillica began to fill with men, women, and children of all cultures and languages...habits, saris, dresses, and suits of all colors swirled around us as we found our places in the body of the church. We were about 40 to 50 yards back from the altar and had a wonderful view of the Pope.
I was very grateful for the booklet for the Mass. The main part of the service was in Latin, and I am very glad that Srs. Patty Ann and Madonna worked me so hard during the postualncy and noviciate to learn how to pronounce the basics and follow Gregorian notation. I could at least follow along and muddle through the responses with some energy and effort! The readings, responses, and prayers were also proclaimed in English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Portugese, Italian, French, and a few others. It impressed upon me the universal outreach of the Church and how each of the cultures as also influenced us.
After Mass we trooped on up to the road side dessert stand, many of the others got gelattos, but I was ready for a smooth shot of cafe (espresso) with a bit of sugar stirred in...only 60 Euro and it helped me hop the train.
The previous day we did a whirlwind tour of Saint Peter's and the surrounding shops. I was so overwhelmed and overrun with sounds and sights that I sought out quiet. There is a side chapel blocked off by a gray velvet curtain and watched by a official looking man. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was the quiet haven I needed. Inside this space there is no talking, touristing, or photos allowed; it is a place of prayer. As the curtain fell shut behind me, I spotted some kneeler space and I slid into the pew for 10 or 15 minutes of quiet thoughts of all of you back home.