Rome 2006 Tueday, June 20 Arrival in Rome, Casa Santa Maria, St. John Lateran

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The Casa Santa Maria, the house for American priests studying in Rome. Actually this is the backdoor, but it has been modified and become the primary entrance.
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Couryard of the Casa Santa Maria, where I lived for 2 years while I was in Rome.
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More couryard gardens, a great place to read a book. Unfortunately the oranges weren't in season.
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The Eastern Chapel at the Casa, where those priests of the Eastern Rites celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
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Image of Mary as Theotokos, or God-Bearer, in the Eastern Chapel.
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Eucharistic Chapel where I often said Mass in Italian and spent many Holy Hours.
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If you haven't already figured it out. The chapel is dedicated to both St. Katerine Drexel and Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha.
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Main chapel at the Casa Santa Maria, built in 1601. The picture above the altar is a nineteenth century copy of the famous Madonna of Mercy, known affectionately to Casa priests as Our Lady of Humility.
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Wood latice work in front of the organ there in the Casa chapel.
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Refrectory dining room of the Casa, the ceiling was Frescoed by Constantino Brumidi, who also did the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
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The Gregorian University, on the Piazza della Pilotta, all recently refurbished.
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Inside the Gregorian one finds the world famous Latin teacher in class, the "Pope's latinist", Fr. Reginal Foster.
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Piazza Venezia, with the elaborate marble mountain that is the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (King Victor Emanuel II).
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Steps leading up to the Campidoglio, seat of Rome's municipal government. The large stairway leading to the top was created by Michelangelo.
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Next to it rises the church of Santa Maria of Aracoeli. Site of ancient temples where, according to the legend, the coming of Jesus was foretold: "Haec est ara filii Dei" (here is the altar of the son of God) from which comes the name Aracoeli (altar of the sky). The staris were built in 1348.
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A great description of the Aracoeli Church. Although dating back to at least the 6th century, what we find today remains today mostly dates from the 13th century.
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Most important in Santa Maria in Aracoeli is the Santo Bambino, A statue of the Holy Child which draws the Romans to pack the Church each Christmas season.
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This modern bronze statue of St. Helena, mother of Constantine, was created by a Franciscan artist in 1972 and stands over the shrine containing her relics.
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Above the main altar it says "Regina Coeli, Latare, Alelluia", the beginning of the prayer said each Easter Season "O Queen of Heaven, Rejoice, Alelluia".
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Entrusted to the Fransicans since 1249, this is their Monostary behind the Aracoeli. Medieval historians tell us thirteenth-century city elders came to discuss politics and decide municipal policies in the Franciscan cloister.
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From the balcony behind the Franciscan cloister, one get a view of some of the city
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Here a view of the Roman forum.
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A second view of the Forum.
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The Roman Seminary, behind the Church of St. John Latern, where Seminarians for diocese of Rome are formed to become priests.
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At the start of World War I, 134 of the seminarians had been drafted into the Italian army, and all entrusted themselves to Mary before this image of Our Lady of Trust, Mater Fiducia. Although a half million Italians died in the war, all 134 seminarians returned home safely.
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It actual is a quite small image, but one of great devotion for the priests and seminarians of Rome. Read the address of Pope John Paul II, 2005 or Pope Benedict XVI, 2006 in which they recall this devotion where the seminarians "learn to repeat the beautiful invocation Mater mea, fiducia mea".
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After I make my own visit to pray to Our Lady, a brief rest in the courtyard inside the Roman Seminary.
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Next to the Roman Seminay is also the Pontifical Lateran University, founded by Pius IX in the 19th century.
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Now approaching St. John Lateran from the back, one first comes to the Baptistry.
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The Baptistry was ordered to be created by Constantine, the first one in Rome, where baptisms would be done by the Bishop. This is the Chapel of St Venantius.
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The huge font allowed candidates to stand in the water while it was poured over their heads three times. The structure was restored by Pope Sixtus III in the 5th century, and the lower level now appears much as it did at that time. The second level and the dome were redesigned in 1637. Note the painting of Constantine's vision on the far wall.
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Here I am out in front of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, where Emperor Constantine allowed the Pope to set up the episcopal chair after 312.
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Originally dedicated as the Basilica Salvatoris, Basilica of the Saviour. The present name is a result of the importance of the baptistry (St. John the Baptist) and of the presence of a Benedictine monastery dedicated to St John the Evangelist. The main faŤade is the work of Alessandro Galilei, from 1736.
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The Basillica has been damaged and restored many times. Much of what we see today dates to a 1650 restoration by Borromini. The altar seen at the far end of the transept, from 1600, enshrines a table traditionally said to be that used by Christ at the Last Supper.
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The high altar and baldachino date to 1367. It has a relic chamber at the top, in which the part of the heads of Sts Peter and Paul are preserved, according to tradition. Note the 13th century mosaic in the apse, parts of which date to 4th century, e.g. Christ's head surrounded by seraphim.
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The confession, rebuilt by Pope Pius IX (1846-1878). Pope Martin V (1417-1431) is buried there.
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Across the street is a building housing the Scala Santa, the Holy Staircase. The stairs are said to have been brought here from Pilate's house in Jerusalem, where Christ climbed them.
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They were said to have been brought to Rome by St Helena, Constantine's mother. It has 28 marble steps, now cased in wood. In several places, there are glass panes in the wood, through which one can see stains in the marble. These are said to be drops of Christ's blood, spilled when He walked the stairs.
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Many pilgrims come here to climb them, always on their knees, while contemplating on the Passion of Christ. If the image of Christ crucified doesn't help remind one od his suffering, then the pain of going up stairs on your knees does.

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