Welcome! This blog celebrates both the local and the catholic -- that is, universal -- aspects of the Roman Catholic Church by sharing reflections on experiences of the Church in a variety of settings and cultures. Postings will come from around the world and around the corner. You don't have to be a Catholic to come along.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
St. Peter's Square
As a city boy, I like city squares.
Ever since I first started working in downtown Cincinnati in 1969 I have regarded Fountain Square as the heart of the city. With great satisfaction, I have watched it undergo two renovations to bring it up to its current glorious state.
But to me no square can match Piazza San Pietro -- St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. The first time I saw it -- after a missed plane, misdirected luggage, and a cab drivers' strike that forced us to walk a memorable distance from the train station to our hotel -- the size of the square and the magnificence of the Bernini colonnades took my breath away. Photos just don't do it justice.
But scope and beauty are not the only attractions for me. I love to look at the Egyptian obelisk at the center of the square and reflect that it was already almost two thousand years old when the Emperor Caligula installed it in his circus in 37 B.C. It has only been at its current location since Pope Sixtus V moved it there in 1586.
If you work in the Vatican and you look at that monument with some frequency, it has to have some impact on your definition of words such words "immediate," "urgent," "timely" and even "important"!
I love to cross the piazza anytime, but especially in the evening with the lights illuminating the two fountains. And I never fail to look up at the Apostolic Palace to see the lights there, the ones burning in the windows of the papal apartments. I find them a comforting sight.