Regrettably, there was a communications error that sent me to the wrong meeting point, so I missed the Mass in St. Ignatius’ quarters. Luckily, I made it to the 8 PM Mass held by the St. John’s campus ministry, and celebrated by the one and only Fr. Chris Gray, which is always a treat. And, the chapel in which it was held was simple and beautiful (though I didn’t think to bring my camera), which counts for something. This does, however, leave me in a bit of a predicament. Since I didn’t actually go to a Jesuit Mass yesterday, am I allowed to divulge the punch line to yesterday’s joke or not?!? I’ll think about it.
While I’m deciding, I would first like to put up a picture of the Clementine Chapel in which I had Mass on Saturday. Keep in mind, the skull that scholars are pretty sure belonged to St. Peter is right behind the altar.
This photo is also a nice segue into where I had Mass today. Since it is The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles (don’t expect me to type that out again; I won’t), I went to St. Peter’s Basilica again (Mom, you know how this ‘again’ would be pronounced)! Except I did everything. Confession, Adoration, Mass and a Scavi tour. I have nothing to say about the first two (except, perhaps “OH YEAH, PLENARY INDULGENCE BABY!!“), but Mass was quite unique. I meandered over to the sanctuary to nab a priest heading out, but I got a little more than I anticipated: (roughly) seven priests and (exactly) one bishop, all headed to the crypt with a group of pilgrims! I overheard them speaking in French, so I struck up a conversation with the lady standing next to me as we waited to be admitted. Her name was Caroline; the group came from Le Mans; when she heard I was from Utah, she immediately inquired about “les Mormons” (say it with a French accent; it’s hilarious).
The command to not take photos on the Scavi tour was actually enforceable, so I don’t have anything to show y’all from that. But, it was a very fascinating visit, especially from an archaeological perspective. I was a little surprised that they didn’t leave room for more of a pilgrimage approach–there was no opportunity for silent prayer or reflection in this very holy place. Though I understand that there isn’t any way to completely certify or verify that the bones they’ve found are definitely, necessarily St. Peter’s, isn’t that rather missing the point? Relics are important because of that of which they remind us: the tangible and real holiness of the Saints, towards which we can and should aspire; our own mortality; the depth of people and history who are bound together by common belief and prayer at certain places or in association with certain objects; etc. But, it was still a worthwhile visit, especially on this Feast day.
By the way, I’m contemplating a visit to St. Paul’s Basilica later today, lest he feel left out. But, it’s seeming decreasingly likely, and he’s a Saint, so he’ll understand.