Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas

Vincenzo and I are leaving Friday morning for a week, visiting his family in Sicily. I will be away from the internet during most of this time, so I have posted the remaining Advent Calendar Windows for you to enjoy on each of the remaining days leading to Christmas.

We wish you a Blessed Christmas!

Advent Calendar Roman Window 24

It is Christmas eve, and the cycle of "O Antiphons" is complete.

The Proclamation of Christmas from the Roman Martyrology.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year
of the creation of the world

from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year
from Moses 
and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world,
Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,

desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,

being conceived by the Holy Spirit,

and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,

being made flesh.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Advent Calendar Roman Window 23

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
O Antiphon for December 23rd

Advent Calendar Roman Window 22

O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

Windows of the building designed by Richard Meier to protect the Ara Pacis, an altar to peace, commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BC.

O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.
O Antiphon for December 22

Advent Calendar Roman Window 21

O Oriens

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Antiphon for December 21

Advent Calendar Roman Window 20

O Clavis David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

A view of Rome from a window of the Scuderie del Quirinale, originally built as the Papal Stables by Pope Innocent XIII. It is now a gallery for art exhibitions.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Antiphon for December 20

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 19

O Radix Jesse
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
O Antiphon for December 19th

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 18

O Adonai
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
O Antiphon for December 18

Monday, December 17, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 17

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

The Church of the Holy Face of Jesus, Via della Magliana, Rome

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
O Antiphon for December 17

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"O" Antiphons

Most people are familiar with the "O" Antiphons because they are paraphrased in the words of the Advent Hymn "O Come! O Come! Emmanuel." In the tradition of liturgucal churches, the "O" Antiphons are sung or recited at vespers from December 17 through December 23. I will be using them for the text of my next seven Advent Calendar Roman windows.

Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:
December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

The exact origin of the "O Antiphons" is not known. Boethius (480–524/5) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine Saint Benedict Abbey abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they were in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome.

Advent Calendar Roman Window 16

The Third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday.
"Gaudete" comes from the Latin Antiphon, which begins, "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.." [Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice...]. On this day, rose-colored vestments are worn, and flowers may decorate the chancel of the church.

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
ever faithful to your promises
and ever close to your Church:
the earth rejoices in hope of the Savior's coming
and looks forward with longing
to his return at the end of time.
Prepare our hearts and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope
which his presence will bestow,
for he is Lord for ever and ever.

The Opening Mass Prayer for the Third Sunday of Advent
From the Companion Missal

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Window Shopping for Rose Vestments

In the area south of the Pantheon you can find several stores selling ecclesiastical items, ranging from miters and red socks to vestments and chalices. Rose vestments have been featured in the store windows for the last couple of weeks.
This Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent. "Gaudete" comes from the Latin Antiphon, which begins, "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.." [Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice...]. On this day, rose-colored vestments are worn, the rose candle in the Advent Wreath is lit and flowers may decorate the chancel of the church. (Latare Sunday in Lent is the only other day that rose vestments are worn.)

Advent Calendar Roman Window 15

Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding.
"Christ is nigh," it seems to say;
"Cast away the works of darkness,
O ye children of the day."
Advent Hymn # 59
From The Hymnal 1982

Friday, December 14, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 14

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain:
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign,
For the glory of the Lord
now o'er the earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that his word is never broken.
Advent Hymn #67
From The Hymnal 1982

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 13

A window overlook Piazza Navona

See that your lamps are burning; replenish them with oil;
and wait for your salvation, the end of earthly toil.
The watchers on the mountain proclaim the Bridegroom near;
go meet him as he cometh, with alleluias clear.
Advent Hymn #68
From The Hymnal 1982

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bringing Cookies

When I first moved to Rome I noticed many people walking around with wrapped packages that looked like gifts. I wondered about the parties that they were going to. I saw teenagers, senior citizens, and all ages in between, carrying packages neatly wrapped in colorful paper and tied with ribbon. I soon discovered that they were usually on their way home from the bakery with cookies or sweets to share with their family after dinner. The wrapping turns the simple gesture of stopping for cookies or sweats into a special event.

Today, one of my students brought in a package of cookies for our class from her grandfather, who is a baker in Tuscany. Her grandmother is visiting her family here in Rome. The cookies were on a nice gold foil cardboard tray, making them easy to serve "right out of the package."

Our Lady of Guadalupe

This is an e-mail message I received form my son several years ago. It was used as part of Advent reflections published by St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village, NYC, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


Sorry I haven't kept in better touch but the green peppers need to be picked before the first frost when they all die!!

I'm living in a work camp just outside a town called Adrian in Oregon. Every morning fifteen of us get picked up at 6:30 by this big white truck, we sit in the back on the floor, and the white dude drives us to a town called Fruitland in Idaho. (Adrian is right on the border.) Then we just work all damn day until 4:30 when YES!! The day is finally over. Remember when we went to see that horrible movie "Groundhog Day?" Yup, that is what I think every morning when I struggle to get my self out of bed and then through out the day. After a couple of hours my back starts hurting, so after lunch (which is at 10:30) I go into multi-position picking mode ... where I'll mix just strait bending over with going down to one knee and picking from that stance to squatting like a catcher in baseball. The good news is that I've been getting more and more time driving the tractor in the last couple of days as other things have come up and the white dudes need to drive the onion trucks or what not. Yesterday I drove the loader for the first time. It is a big tonka truck looking yellow fork lift. Pretty cool to be driving that thing. It has the big old tires and you have to climb up this ladder to get into it.

The camp where I'm living looks pretty much like the camps that we put the Japanese in during WW2, or at least from the pictures I've seen of them. I moved in with this other guy to save on rent, a 52 year-old dude from Chiapas. So now I'm paying 20 bucks a week to live there.

From here I'm still trying to decide where to go. The experience has been incredible so far, exactly what I hoped for. The only concern I have is that I'm getting the feeling that the white dudes are trying to move me away from just picking with all the Mexican dudes into more a driving the tractor and loader role, and I'm worried how that is going to effect the dynamic back home at the camp where I'm the only non-Mexican dude and don't want to alienate myself by undoing the bond I created by working my ass off with them every day. But sitting in that tractor is so nice, ahhhh my back loves it. Boring no doubt and the time goes by a lot slower up in the chair, so I still need to figure that part out.

Hmmmm I think that is about it. Miss you dad. Hope Jersey City has been treating you all right. I really want to make a list of the 10 things to do with a political science degree, and just pick various actions from a day in the life of Pete.... Post-graduation!

SEE-YA!!! Love, Pete

Peter is now 28 years old. He graduated from Richard Stockton College in New Jersey with a degree in Political Science. His college career included a semester at the University of Nanging, China, and a semester as an intern with Amnesty International in Washington, DC. Between his first and second years of college he spent a year living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, living and working with youth in an orphanage and working with Covenant House. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Education and working for the NYC Board of Education as a secondary ESL teacher in the Bronx.

Advent Calendar Roman Window 12

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
Isaiah 11:6-7 NRSV

Also see my blog posting for today, December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 11

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
 the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2 NRSV

Monday, December 10, 2007

Babbo Natale Goes to School

This morning I facilitated a visit from Babbo Natale (the Italian Santa Claus) to the younger students at school. All children in nursery through 1st grade presented Babbo Natale with a gift that will be given to children living with HIV here in Rome. Babbo Natale left with large bags of presents that will brighten the faces of many children this Christmas.

Advent Calendar Roman Window 10

The front windows of the Jubilee Church, Richard Meier, architect
Creator of the stars of night,

Thy people’s everlasting light,

Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,

And hear Thy servants when they call.
Advent Hymn #60
From The Hymnal 1982

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 9

The little windows for today are on the facade of the Basilica of St. Lazaro. You can see some of the windows of "modern Rome" in the background.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to
preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our
Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent
From the Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 8

This is an alabaster window from the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wall.

Prepare the way, O Zion; your Christ is drawing near!
Let every hill and valley a level way appear.
Greet one who comes in glory, foretold in sacred story.
Oh, blest is Christ that come In God’s most holy name.
Advent Hymn # 65
from the Hymnal 1982

Looking for San Lazzaro

Last Sunday, assisted by a recently purchased navigation system, we set off to find the Basilica of San Lazzaro in Borgo. Our journey got us to the small church just as the Mass was finished and we were able to go in and enjoy a recently restored Romanesque basilica dedicated to St Lazarus, patron of lepers.

When the church was built early in the 11th century, it was first known as Santa Maria Maddalena. A hospice for pilgrims was attached to it. Later, an asylum for lepers was established here and the dedication was changed to St Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers. The interior has three naves separated by reused ancient columns. A side chapel is dedicated to the former titular saint, St Mary Magdalen. She is a patron of vinedressers, many of whom worked in the area around the church.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Advent Calendar Roman Window 7

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills
And life to joy awakes.
Advent Hymn # 73
from the Hymnal 1982

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Advent Calendar Window 6

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
announces that the Lord is nigh;
awake and hearken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of Kings.
Advent Hymn # 76
from the Hymnal 1982

The stockings are hung…..

Student stockings are hanging in the atrium of Ambrit-Rome International School waiting for a gift from La Befana. The gifts will appear in the stockings on January 6th.

La Befana is a character in Italian folklore, similar to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. The character may have originated in Rome and then spread as a tradition to other parts of Italy.

There are legends saying Christmas stockings originated with St. Nicholas, whose feast is celebrated today. St. Nicholas was a 3rd Century bishop with a reputation for helping the poor. One of the legends surrounding his life involves a poor man with three daughters. The man did not have the resources to provide dowries for his daughters so they were destined for slavery or prostitution. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home, providing the needed dowries. These bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. (This has led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from St. Nicholas.)

Note: Nicholas is the patron saint of pawn brokers. You can often see three gold balls in their shop windows and on their signs. These are a reference to St. Nicholas redeeming the girls with the three bags of gold.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Advent Calendar Window 5

Here is the 5th window from Rome for this Advent Calendar.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Advent Hymn # 66
from the Hymnal 1982

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting a Christmas Tree in Rome

Most Italians have artificial trees. It seems that their trees come out of the boxes on December 8th and stay up throughout the Christmas season. This past Saturday, Vincenzo and I went to IKEA and got a tree for our apartment. (Vincenzo has not had a green Christmas tree in the apartment before.) For €9.99 we were able to select any tree from the lot. It's a living tree with a root ball wrapped in burlap, and after Christmas we can return it to IKEA to be planted in a forest.

Advent Calendar Window 4

This is an apartment window near the Campo dei Fiori.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

15th Century Advent Hymn

Monday, December 3, 2007

Advent Calendar Window 3

One day while walking in Rome I looked up and noticed this pair of windows. (Where do you keep your cleaning supplies?)
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)
from Handel's Messiah

Advent Calendar Window 2

I am presenting a different Roman window each day until Christmas in the tradition of opening windows on an Advent Calendar. Here is a window near the Porta San Paolo.

Collect from the Book of Common Prayer
for the First Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advent Calendar

I remember Advent Calendars from my childhood and sharing them over the years with my own kids, Emily and Peter. Each day in December we would look forward to opening a window and revealing a picture, and sometimes a verse, relating to Christmas. This month I want to continue the Advent Calendar tradition by presenting a different Roman window each day. Here is the living room window of our apartment on Piazza Oderica da Pordenone.

O come, o come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
9th Century Latin hymn