Tuesday (20120515 10:30) we had an appointment with Father Greg, the Rector of Santa Susanna Church, the American catholic church in Rome. We wanted to introduce ourselves and chat about church activities and our plans for this year and next. He told us about the soup kitchen once a month, the church community picnic, the annual dinner-dance-raffle, and the Monday night Bible Study. He said there are several nuns in Rome who are representatives in their orders who usually attend the 09:00 Sunday mass. They have lots of connections in the United States and would know about missionary and volunteer opportunities.
After our appointment we wanted to see some of the piazzas and famous fountains of Rome. Our first stop was the Piazza della Repubblica with the Fontana delle Naiadi (“voluptuous bronze ladies wrestling happily with marine monsters” – guide books use a lot of imagination). On one side of the piazza, is the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. We don’t recall having seen that church before, so we went in. We learned that it was formerly part of the huge Baths of Diocletian built in 300 AD and converted to a church by Michelangelo. It is very large inside and contains the largest pipe organ in Europe. There were wispy paintings of the Mysteries of Light, a special exhibit on Galileo, the father of science, and the fascinating Meridiana, a marble and brass inlay running across the floor of the church. It was built in 1702 by Francesco Bianchini for the appointment of Pope Clement XI. A description said that sun rays will pass through a hole in the ceiling at exactly 13:06:41 today and cross a specific location on the brass line on the floor. We returned after lunch to watch this event.