I set out today to go south and west of Rome to Ostia Antica. This is the sight of the original port of Rome, about 20 miles from the city. Since then, as ecological changes have occurred with the silting up of the port from the effluent of the Tiber, the port moved a further 20 miles south and west. Ostia Antica is now an archaeological site, comparable in quality to Pompey. I did not make it. The bus system in Rome at times confounds me. I got on what I thought was the correct one to get me to a location to catch a bus to a train station that would take me to the site. I was wrong. I road it all around southwest Rome back to the bus stop where I got on. So, seeing this as notification that I shouldn’t go…it was looking rainy…I just took another bus headed into the main part of Rome and wandered. It is always an interesting thing to do, just watching people. I did go into Mass at the Church of the Gesu, the main Jesuit church, barely making it a “legitimate” fulfillment of the “Sunday obligation”. The female cantor was the only music provided. She had a beautiful lyrical voice. As I made my way home, there were 4 guys on the bus who I engaged in conversation. They, I found out, were staying on the same street where I am staying. In fact, in engaging them in conversation telling them that I was working as a free lance journalist and knowing I was from Montana, realized that they had met my hostess this morning at the bus stop and she had mentioned me! They had come here from France. One of the men was escorting his 92 year old father who had wanted to come to France to visit the cemetery where his father was buried, a casualty of World War II. This 92 year old man was himself a veteran of World War II. They began to talk with me about what I was writing and grew curious. They asked many questions about the Synod. In fact, I missed my bus stop on the way home engaging in this conversation. They got off at the same stop as me. I consulted with a flower seller and found that I could easily take another bus just down the street to get right on my street.The original bus I was on, and the one I usually take every day to the Vatican, does not come really close to my street, necessitating that I have to walk about a mile to get to where I am living. The 4 guys who thought they were on the correct street when they got off with me, realized their mistake and came back to the bus stop where I was standing. I helped them get to where they needed to go. And that may have been the blind leading the blind, but it worked out. So, in missing my stop because I was chatting away with 4 guys on the bus, I discovered an easier way to get “home”….at least for the next two days as I leave here on Wednesday morning.! Sometimes you learn good things in just letting yourself head in a direction that you did not plan, even if it only benefits you for two days! Sometimes along that different direction you take, you can engage others and even help them a bit find their way home.
Another perk of having Vatican press credentials is to use their “facilites”. I always make it a point to use their toilet before I head out after the press conference. Public facilities are far and few between. If you want to use one in a restaurant, you had better be a paying customer. Friday, on my way out of the press office, I noticed a group of people crowded into a room at the end of a hallway. As I came near, I realized that I was hearing English so I poked my head into the room. It was an interview with English speaking journalists and Bishop Cupich. Below is a link to the audio of the interview. I certainly hope he gets his “red hat” in February when I believe PF will name more cardinals. PF needs to keep naming cardinals as long as he is in office, men who have the “smell of the sheep” to even give the chance that another pope who thinks along his lines could be elected. Certainly, Cupich fits the description of a sheep smelly pastor. Also, Chaput in signing The Letter may have just lost his red hat. That is fine by me. Below is a link to the full audio of the interview with Bishop Cupich. By the way, see if you can tell who the owner of the voice of the last person to speak with Bishop on the tape is….