Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas 2012

I have been meaning to post some pictures from Christmas for a while now.  But, with exams coming up in a few weeks, participating in a European meeting of the Taize Ecumenical community (with about 40,000 young people), and the normal day-to-day life of the community….well, I’m now getting around to it.  But, the liturgical season of Christmas doesn’t end until this Sunday (with the Baptism of the Lord) so I’m really ahead of the game :)
So, here’s a slice of life from Via Latina…Natale style!  (That means Christmas)

Christmas festivities started a little early with "Dinner for the 'Personali'" - those who work at our house and help keep it running.  There are around 30 permanent residents and a whole cadre of guests that come through.

There were also some brothers finishing a sabbatical at dinner.

The tree in the center of the city at Piazza Venezia.  It's not exactly Rockafeller Center, but...

...Add lights and darkness, and it doesn't look too bad.  This is Fr. Jim who was in town and took me out for a nice dinner...woohooo...we like Fr. Jim.
To help celebrate, two cousins from Detroit visited Rome.  Here's Mike.
And here's my other cousin, Ronda.

A group of us went to St. Peter's for Midnight Mass (starting at 10:00).

It was a full house, but in typical Roman fashion we got pretty good seats "because we knew someone."

With my cousins Mike and Ronda before Mass started.

The Pope was the main celebrant.

There he is...

And you can't forget the choir on Christmas.

The creche in St. Peters.

Rome in a festive mood.
Now, onto Christmas dinner with our chef extraordinaire, Bro. Mike.

And then onto the Christmas party...Or as I like to call it..."Brothers gone wild."

Before we could open our gifts, we played a game where we had to guess the identity of a secret person.  My group had Goliath (that's what happens when there's a bunch of seminarians involved)...

...And if you didn't guess in time, then you had to dance!

There was a lot of dancing, even for the guests!

Of course, it's not Christmas without a rapper.  This is Lay Marianist Joe Melendrez who is a Christian Rapper.  He was visiting for Christmas and entertained us.  He is also modelling his line of clothing called "God Swag."

Not to be outdone, Bro. Dani also rapped for us.

This is Bro. Arul, my "Invisible Friend."  In the States he would have been my Secret Santa.

The Americans gave a rousing rendition of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

More of Rome.
The Italian Marianist Sisters had us over for a Christmas party, also.

The food is always good at the Sisters' house.

And they gave us gifts...Mostly free things they had accumulated throughout the year :)

A good time was had by all.
Besides visiting the sites in Rome with my cousins, we made a day trip to the city of Subiaco.  This is where St. Benedict lived for several years (spending three years in a cave) and where he wrote the first copy of the Rule of Life for Monks.

Only in Italy.

Subiaco is nestled in the mountains.  This is St. Scholastica Monastery.

The monastery is on top of a mountain, so it was uphill all the way.  But, it was a really nice day.

Just something we stumbled upon in Rome.  They're red, so I figured it's like a Christmas picture.
After Christmas there was a meeting of European youth coordinated by the Taize Community.  It is an ecumenical religious community centered in France.  There were about 80 Marianist youth who participated from Spain, Italy, France, Austria and Poland.  They gathered at our house for prayer and fun.

Finally, the creche in our chapel.  Buon Natale a tutti e Buon Anno!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!