We had a great but short visit with Fr. Varghese! He called about 8:30 am and said he was going to arrive at Termini at 10:15 am from Florence. He had been visiting Bishop Gremoli who confirmed all of our children, I think. He retired several years ago. We had decided to go to 10:30 am Mass, so luckily we were home to answer the phone. We finished breakfast and ran to the grocery store to stock up for our visitor. Last night we had a nice salad and spaghetti with hamburger, mushrooms, and tomatoes, because we expected him last night. Oh well.
We got on the bus and started on our way to Termini, and then the bus was diverted by policemen at Piazza Venezia, and the driver tried several different routes, all of which were blocked. He talked to someone on the phone and evenutally stopped the bus and said in Italian that we would arrive at Termini but he may not be able to go down Via Nazionale. So half of the riders stayed on the bus to Termini. We ended up back at our street. It and all the streets to the right were blocked off. We had to go way up the river to a road that was clear and went over that to Termini. We got there 45 minutes after Fr. Varghese arrived. He was walking around looking for us and we were walking around looking for him for maybe 40 minutes. Yikes! Luckily, Fr. Varghese saw us and called “Mike”.
We all agreed that it may be impossible to travel by bus, so we opted for the Metro to St. Peter’s and walked home from there. Fr. Varghese chose to go to our home and visit before anything else. We had some drinks and fruit and visited for a while. Then asked if he wanted Italian food or sandwiches here and he preferred to have whatever we would have at home. So simple food it was! He asked what we’ve been doing here and we told him. We found out he coordinated 40 priests and two bishops for the Vicariate of Arabia (the bishops cover the northern and southern Arabian peninsula). He travels a lot! We told him all our kids said hello and David mentioned he still remembers his homilies!
After lunch, Fr. Varghese said he’d like to take a rest for half an hour and then go to the Franciscan house where he dropped his bag the night before. He would see them and stay there so he could catch an early train to Assisi tomorrow. Before lunch Fr. Varghese had tried calling a friend of his, Raji, who had been working in Dubai and is now studying here in Rome for the priesthood. Raji didn’t call back till later in the day. After the nap, we sat together at the table for a short prayer time in which Fr. Varghese blessed us and our whole family and the house here and any people we meet in our stay here and any visitors who stay in our home. He had with him a photo of our family from a couple of Christmases ago.
He told us of a group called Jesus Youth, which has been spreading. He said for the first time ever, they had a group of 21 bishops con-celebrating mass in Dubai. It was Jesus Youth that organized it all. The bishops were totally blown away when they left mass and were presented immediately with copies of the homily and a photo of them all. The leaders of Jesus Youth are all professional young people well-versed in technology. Fr. Varghese has been asked to be their director in Arabia and that is how he knows about them.
Well, after we accompanied Fr. Varghese to the Fratti Cappuccini, we stopped at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and found they had mass at 6:00 pm. So we looked around, went to reconciliation in English. The confessionals had signs listing what languages the priest in that confessional could speak. While I was sitting in the mass area, Fr. Varghese tapped my shoulder as he went by and sat in front of us. So it was nice to have Mass together with him. Afterwards, Fr. Varghese mentioned that for him Mass is a community celebration. Since the other priests at the house were not going to be having Mass at that time, he decided to go to the church. Then Dad and I went home.