Monday, November 30, 2009

Bonus Gate: November 30, 2009

Gates, lift high your heads,
raise high the ancient gateways,
and the king of glory shall enter.
Psalm 24: 7 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Today is Monday of the first week in Advent. The Advent Calendar of Roman Gates does not start until tomorrow, but I offer you this gate as a Monday bonus! The Porta Santo Spirito (of the Holy Spirit) is the only surviving Renaissance gate in the Vatican walls. Construction on this gate began in 1542 by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, but was abondoned and remains unfinished because Michaelangelo suggested that the walls should follow a different course.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent Calendar 2009: INTRODUCTION

Gates, lift high your heads,
raise high the ancient gateways,
and the king of glory shall enter.
Psalm 24: 7 (New Jerusalem Bible)

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. As I have done for the past two years, I will again offer a blog version of an Advent Calendar. I remember enjoying Advent Calendars as a child and I shared them over the years with my own kids, Emily and Peter. Each day in December we looked forward to opening a little door and revealing a picture, and sometimes a verse, relating to Christmas.

The theme for 2009 is Roman Gates. For each of the twenty four days before Christmas you will find a photo of a different gate here in Rome along with a brief Advent prayer. I hope these images and thoughts will help you prepare for the celebration of Christmas and I hope you will enjoy these Roman gates.

The Advent Calendar will begin on December 1st with the first gate.
While you are waiting...

Here is the gate to our apartment building on Piazza Oderico da Pordenone in the Garbatella neighborhood of Rome.

Anglican Collect for 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.
1979 Book of Common Prayer

Here are some more gates in our neighborhood of Garbatella.

You can check December in the blog archives for previous Advent Calendars:
Doors of Rome (2008)
Windows of Rome (2009)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kid's Shoes

Recently I took photos of what the 5th grade students were wearing on their feet that day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Archbishop Comes to Visit

Two weeks ago we were in London and went past Lambeth Palace, home to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Last night the Archbishop, Rowan Williams, was the preacher at an ecumenical vesper service at Caravita, our church in the center of Rome. Cardinal Kasper was the presider. (Please excuse the blurry photo...I was the thurifer!)
In the sacristy before the service I mention to the Archbishop that I was recently in London for my first time, and while on the Hop On - Hop Off tourist bus we went past his house. There is even a stop for Lambeth Palace on the bus. He indicated that they were well served by the bus and "next time in London I should hop off... knock on the door... and have a spot of tea."
The Archbishop asked about my home parish, and I was able to proudly speak of the Church of the Holy Apostles in New York City.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Visiting London

We visited a friend in London during the first week of November and were able to explore several parts of the city. One of highlights was a performance of Les Miserables at the Queen's Theater.
This is the front door to our friend's apartment building.

These are other homes in the neighborhood.

Here I am on the bus heading to the center of the city.

Parliament on the River Thames.

Everyone recognizes BIG BEN.

Trafalgar Square was much larger than I expected it to be.

Here are some people playing a game in Trafalgar Square that I remember for the era the Beatles we introduced to America on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Vincenzo enjoyed being a tourist on top
of the double decker sight-seeing bus, even in the rain.
I was hoping to feed the birds on the steps of St. Paul's, but alas, it is forbidden! (They could do it when Mary Poppins was in town!)
The Baker Street Underground Station
is a must for fans of Sherlock Holmes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Museum Mugs

As some know, we have a collection of museum coffee mugs. This week, while we were in London, we added new mugs to remember our visits to The National Gallery and Tate Modern.

Churches Seen in London

London has many churches, although only a fraction of the number of churches one can find in Rome.
This is Christ Church, in the neighborhood of Brent, down the street from where we stayed and across the street from the bus stop where we waited for our trips into central London.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields is an Anglican church at the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square. The current building was designed by James Gibbs and built in 1721. I have had many musical recordings by the orchestra of this church.

This church image is part of a mural in the Tottenham Court Road Underground Station.

.This is the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, known to the world as Westminster Abbey. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial for British monarchs. (We all remember Princess Dianna's funeral that was held here in 1997.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

And last but not least, this is the gate to Lambeth Palace on the south bank of the River Thames opposite Parliament. Lambeth Palace has been the historic London residence of Archbishops of Canterbury since the 13th century. Today it is the London home and offices of Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion.

Remembrance Sunday - Veteran's Day

Today is Remembrance Sunday... the Sunday closest to November 11th, which in the United States is Veteran's Day. It is a time that commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on November 11th to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. (World War I was formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)

We just returned from London where we witnessed preparations for today. Paper poppies were being worn by many people and on Friday we saw the preparations for the unveiling of a new military statue in Trafalgar Square.
We also saw this protest against war being staged in the park next to Westminster Cathedral and the British Parliament Building.

Today in Rome there was a large exhibition of the Italian military in the Circus Maximus. It included displays from all branches of the country's armed services. The ruins of homes of Roman emperors on the Palatine Hill are in the background.
The use of a poppy for Remembrance Day is from the Canadian poem "In Flanders Fields." Poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I and their red color is an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of war.

This is a field of poppies in Puglia.
In the background are olive trees, symbols of peace!

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Artichokes - Carciofi

This week I noticed at a neighborhood vegetable stand that there were two types of artichokes for sale. Atichokes from Sardenia were 90 cents and ones from Puglia were €1. I asked the shopkeeper about her artichokes and she explained that the “Roman artichokes” are only available in the spring. (That is when the green market near our house has them for sale at about one-fourth of the price.)I discovered that artichokes were know in Rome before the time of the Caesars and were an expensive specialty. They became popular in Naples in the 15th Century and, from there, spread to Florence and Venice. Catherine de Medici introduced the artichoke to the French Court in 1633 when she married King Henry IV. By the end of that century, it was widely cultivated in Italy, Spain, and France. (Artichokes were introduced by the Spanish to California during the 1700s.)
There are two varieties of artichoke. The one I was familiar with before moving to Rome was conical shaped. We just eat the heart and the tips of the leaves. The Italian varieties of artichokes are globed shaped. Here we eat the entire artichoke. (In Rome you can order fried artichokes, which are delicious!)