Rev. John F. Gagnier

35th Anniversary

Trip to Italy April 22 – May 3, 2013

Our first stop was Milan where we viewed the painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci, which actually measures 15 by 29 feet. The painting is a mural in the former dining room of a convent. The room is climate controlled. Small groups view the painting for 15 minutes by advance reservation. It is not allowed to take pictures. The image below is from the Internet. Because the painting was done with oil paint and not wet plaster called a fresco, it began to deteriorate soon after it was completed in 1498. The Last Supper specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him. All twelve apostles have different reactions to the news, with various degrees of anger and shock. The names of the apostles were determined from manuscripts of DaVinci found in the nineteenth century. The painting underwent restoration from 1978 to 1999.

From left to right, they are identified as follows:

Bartholomew, James, son of Alphaeus and Andrew form a group of three, all are surprised. Judas Iscariot, Peter and John form another group of three. Judas is wearing green and blue and is in shadow, looking rather withdrawn and taken aback by the sudden revelation of his plan. He is clutching a small bag, perhaps signifying the silver given to him as payment to betray Jesus, or perhaps a reference to his role within the 12 disciples as treasurer. He is also tipping over the salt shaker. This may be related to the near-Eastern expression to "betray the salt" meaning to betray one's Master. He is the only person to have his elbow on the table and his head is also horizontally the lowest of anyone in the painting. Peter looks angry and is holding a knife pointed away from Christ, perhaps foreshadowing his violent reaction in Gethsemane during Jesus' arrest. The youngest apostle, John, appears to swoon. Jesus. Apostle Thomas, James the Greater and Philip are the next group of three. Thomas is clearly upset; James the Greater looks stunned, with his arms in the air. Meanwhile, Philip appears to be requesting some explanation. Matthew, Jude Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot are the final group of three. Both Jude Thaddeus and Matthew are turned toward Simon, perhaps to find out if he has any answer to their initial questions.

A “living statue” of Leonardo DaVinci.

We also visited the Cathedral in Milan.

We took a “water-taxi” to Venice.

After settling into our Padua hotel, we went to Venice, birthplace of priest and composer, Antonio Vivaldi. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was baptized immediately after his birth at his home by the midwife, which led to a belief that his life was somehow in danger. Though not known for certain, the immediate baptism was most likely due either to his poor health or to an earthquake that shook the city that day. Vivaldi's official ceremony at church took place two months later.

Venice: a poster for the museum.


Venice: a Greek Orthodox church: San Giorgio dei Greci : Saint George of the Greeks

Carnival masks are on sale all over Venice.

Jean Black and a view of the “Bridge of Sighs”

The Bridge of Sighs is a bridge located in Venice, northern Italy. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge), and was built in 1602.

The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. In addition, little could be seen from inside the Bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows.

A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge Of Sighs as the bells of St Mark's Campanile toll. This legend served as a plot line for the movie A Little Romance, featuring Laurence Olivier and Diane Lane.

The Doge's Palace is in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. The oldest part of the palace is the façade overlooking the lagoon, the corners of which are decorated with 14th-century sculptures by Filippo Calendario and various Lombard artists such as Raverti and Antonio Bregno. The ground floor arcade and the loggia above are decorated with 14th and 15th century capitals, some of which were replaced with copies during the 19th century. The facade of the building is replicated at the Italy Pavilion in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Statue of St. Mark, patron of Venice, whose relics were stolen from Egypt and placed in the Cathedral.

Interior of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice

Interior of St. Mark’s Cathedral

Tomb of Saint Mark the Evangelist

A view from a bridge in Venice

The famed Rialto Bridge in Venice

The first dry crossing of the Grand Canal was a pontoon bridge built in 1181 by Nicolò Barattieri. It was called the Ponte della Moneta, presumably because of the mint that stood near its eastern entrance. The development and importance of the Rialto market on the eastern bank increased traffic on the floating bridge, so it was replaced in 1255 by a wooden bridge. The idea of rebuilding the bridge in stone was first proposed in 1503. Several projects were considered over the following decades. In 1551, the authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the Rialto Bridge, among other things. Plans were offered by famous architects, such as Jacopo Sansovino, Palladio and Vignola, but all involved a Classical approach with several arches, which was judged inappropriate to the situation. Michelangelo also was considered as designer of the bridge. The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, was finally completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico, the covered ramps carry rows of shops. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.

A view from the Rialto Bridge

Street Musicians

Clock in the Venice town square

The Lion is the symbol of Saint Mark the Evangelist.

On the Grand Canal, the “Main Street” of Venice

Jim and Jean Parker, with Randy and Lorie Cook in the background

Father Gagnier and Jean Black in the gondola

Gondolas waiting for customers

Father Gagnier in Saint Mark’s Square, with the Basilica and bell tower

St. Mark's Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, located in the Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. The tower is 323 feet tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark's Square, near the front of the basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft, 39 feet wide on each side 160 feet tall, above which is a loggia surrounding the belfry, housing five bells. The belfry is topped by a cube, alternate faces of which show the Lion of Saint Mark and the female representation of Venice “la Giustizia: Justice”. The tower is capped by a pyramidal spire, at the top of which sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel. The campanile reached its present form in 1514. The current tower was reconstructed in its present form in 1912 after the collapse of 1902. The tower is currently undergoing structural repairs in order to halt its subsidence. The Campanile is currently undergoing a major set of building works that are forecast to last a few years. Like many buildings in Venice, it is built on soft ground, supported by wooden piles. Due to years of winter flooding, the subsoil has become saturated and the campanile has begun to subside and lean. Evidence of this can be seen in the increasing number of cracks in the masonry. In order to stop the damage, a ring of titanium is being built underneath the foundations of the campanile. The titanium ring will protect the campanile from the shifting soil and ensure that the tower subsides equally and does not lean. There is a replica of this tower at the Italy pavilion in Epcot, Disney World, Florida.

Father Gagnier after celebrating Mass at this altar in the Basilica.

The Doge’s Palace, the Benedictine Monastery on another nearby island across the bay,

the Winged Lion of Venice on a pillar (symbol of Saint Mark), and the Saint Mark statue.

Saint Anthony Basilica in Padua, Italy

A glass store in Padua.

Padua, Italy

A street in Padua

A view of Florence and its Basilica.

The Ponte Vecchio: “The Old Bridge” a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. The bridge consists of three segmental arches: the main arch has a span of 98 feet. The two side arches each span 88 feet. During World War II, the Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by retreating Germans on August 4, 1944, unlike all other bridges in Florence. This was allegedly, according to many locals and tour guides, because of an express order by Hitler. Access to Ponte Vecchio was, however, obstructed by the destruction of the buildings at both ends, which have since been rebuilt using a combination of original and modern design.

The Ponte Vecchio “The Old Bridge” as seen from a window in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

A Replica of Michelangelo’s David in a park in Florence

Night view of a replica of Michelangelo’s David in the Piazza Signorile in Florence.                                                             The original is in the Accademia in Florence.

Dome in the Florence Cathedral

Arch in Florence

Il Porcellino: (Italian "piglet") the local Florentine nickname for the bronze fountain of a boar. The fountain figure was sculpted and cast by Baroque master Pietro Tacca (1577 –1640) shortly before 1634, following a marble Italian copy of a Hellenistic marble original, at the time in the Grand Ducal collections and today in display in the classical section of the Uffizi Museum. The original was found in Rome and removed to Florence in the mid-16th century by the Medici. Tacca's bronze, which has eclipsed the Roman marble that served as model, was originally intended for the Boboli Garden, then moved to the Mercato Nuovo in Florence, Italy; the fountain was placed originally facing east, in via Calimala, in front of the pharmacy that by association gained the name Farmacia del Cinghiale (Italian for "boar"). To gain more space for market traffic it was later moved to the side facing south, where it still stands as one of the most popular features for tourists. The present statue is a modern copy, while Tacca's bronze is sheltered in the new Museo Bardini in Palazzo Mozzi. Visitors to Il Porcellino rub the boar's snout to ensure a return to Firenze, a tradition that the English literary traveler Tobias Smollett already noted in 1766, which has kept the snout in a state of polished sheen while the rest of the boar's body has patinated to a dull brownish-green.

Father Gagnier with the bronze sculpture of Perseus with the head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini

This statue was built in 1545 on a square base with bronze relief panels is located in the Loggia dei Lanzi of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. Also, below the main sculptural event a small relief of the story of Perseus and Andromeda resides, similar to a predella on an altarpiece. The second Florentine duke, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, commissioned the work with specific political connections to the other sculptural works in the piazza. When the piece was revealed to the public on 27 April 1554, Michelangelo’s David, Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus, and Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes were already erected in the piazza. The subject matter of the work is the mythological story of Perseus beheading Medusa. Medusa was an ugly-faced woman whose hair was turned to snakes and anyone that looked at her was turned to stone. Perseus stands naked except for a sash and winged sandals, triumphant on top of the body of Medusa with her snaky head in his raised hand. The body of Medusa spews blood from her severed neck. The bronze sculpture and Medusa’s head turns men to stone and is appropriately surrounded by three huge marble statues of men: Hercules, David and later Neptune. Cellini breathed new life into the piazza through his new use of bronze in Perseus and the head of Medusa and the motifs he used to respond to the previous sculpture in the piazza.

Fountain and Statue of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence

In 1537, in Florence, Cosimo I de' Medici, who had become ruler of the city at the age of only 17, decided to launch a program of aqueduct and fountain building. The city had previously gotten all its drinking water from wells and reservoirs of rain water, which meant that there was little water or water pressure to run fountains. Cosimo built an aqueduct large enough for the first continually-running fountain in Florence, the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria (1560–1567). This fountain featured an enormous white marble statue of Neptune, resembling Cosimo, by sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. Under the Medicis, fountains were not just sources of water, but advertisements of the power and benevolence of the city's rulers. They became central elements not only of city squares, but of the new Italian Renaissance garden.

Under the flag of Siena, Father Gagnier gets the brass ring!

Cathedral at Siena

Interior of Cathedral at Siena

Dome of Cathedral at Siena

Front of Cathedral at Siena

Siena City Gate

Countryside around Siena

Town of San Gimignano

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Cathedral at Pisa and the Leaning Tower

One of the Five Towns of the Cinque Terre “Five Lands”

The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination. There are few roads into the Cinque Terre towns that are accessible by car, and the one into Vernazza in particular is open to a parking area leading to a 1/2 mile walk to town after the October 2011 storm damage. It is best to plan not to travel by car at all but to park at La Spezia, for instance, and take the trains.

Local trains from La Spezia to Genova and the rest of the region's network connect the "five lands". Intercity trains also connect the Cinque Terre to Milan, Rome, Turin and Tuscany. The tracks are mostly in tunnels between Riomaggiore and Monterosso. A passenger ferry runs between the five villages, except Corniglia. The ferry enters Cinque Terre from Genova's Old Harbour and La Spezia, Lerici, or Porto Venere. A walking trail, known as Sentiero Azzurro ("Light Blue Trail"), connects the five villages. The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via Dell'Amore ("Love Walk") and is wheelchair-friendly. The stretch from Manarola to Corniglia is the easiest to hike, although the main trail into Corniglia finishes with a climb of 368 steps.

Sunday April 28: Father Gagnier on his 35th Anniversary at Cinque Terre during the long hike

The Mediterranean Sea and one of the five towns

The Mediterranean Sea

Another view during the hike

One of the five towns of Cinque Terre

Jim Allen at Cinque Terre

At the end of the Cinque Terre hike

On a wet anniversary day, Father Gagnier encounters the Mediterranean Sea.

A church in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre – A view from the boat

Back in Florence: Father Gagnier’s Anniversary Dinner Sunday April 28, 9:00 PM

At the entrance to the Basilica Square in Assisi

Mass in a chapel at Assisi Monday April 29

Entire group of 16 poses after the Mass at Assisi

A view of the countryside of Assisi from the Men’s Room!

A scene in Assisi

Father John Francis Gagnier with a sculpture depicting Saint Francis of Assisi as a soldier before he devoted himself to a life of poverty

Another similar statue of Saint Francis in front of the Basilica at Assisi

The plaza in front of the Basilica at Assisi

The tomb of Saint Francis is above this altar in the lower level of the Basilica.

A view inside the Basilica looking back from the exit.

A view of the Basilica from the town looking through the arch

The Basilica and Monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi

Rome: the Circus Maximus and the Emperor’s Palace in the background  The emperor could watch the races from his veranda. Twelve Colosseum arenas could fit on the floor of the Circus Maximus. It accommodated 385,000 people, -a crowd the size of Woodstock.

Views of the Roman Colosseum from our bus window

Petronio clothing store near the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore: “Saint Mary, Major”

Trevi Fountain, Rome

The Trevi Fountain, or Fontana di Trevi in Italian, is Italy’s largest and most famous Baroque fountain, standing 85 feet high and 65 feet across. Baroque art, a popular European art form between 1600 and 1750, is characterized by highly ornate and decorative art and architecture.  The Trevi Fountain was built in the 15th century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo, the manmade channel erected in 19 B.C. that brought fresh water to Roman bathhouses. The water comes from Salone Springs, eight miles outside of the city, but the length of the aqueduct is about 14 miles. The scene depicted on Trevi Fountain tells the story of how the fountain was named. "It was a virgin shepherdess who showed the spring to soldiers seeking water,” according a 16th-century author quoted on the website Garden Fountains. Water flows from the mouth of the dominating figure--Neptune, god of the sea--standing atop a shell-shaped chariot drawn by two sea horses and two gods. The horses represent the changing mood of the sea. The larger statue on the left is a representation of the goddess Abundance, above whom is a bas-relief depiction of Agrippa, the son-in-law of the 19 B.C. Emperor, approving the plans for construction of the aqueduct. On the right is the god Salubrity, topped by a representation of the virgin directing soldiers toward the water.

Jean and John are ready to toss their coins over their shoulders.

Tossing a coin into Trevi Fountain, according to legend, will guarantee a return trip to Rome. The fountain is swept daily, and the money is donated to Caritas, an Italian charity. An estimated 3,000 euros was collected each night. The Trevi Fountain has appeared in famous films, securing itself a place in popular culture. It can be seen in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and the 1953 Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn movie “Roman Holiday.”

An actor dressed as a Roman Soldier

      The Fountain of the Four Rivers on the Piazza Navona by Gianlorenzo Bernini in travertine and marble. Commissioned by Pope Innocent X, the fountain was designed by Bernini and executed largely by his assistants from 1648-1651. A rustic free-form rock occupies the center from which water gushes. The rock form at the bottom has a horse, palm tree, and lion, which had to be carved on site--and were reportedly carved by the master himself. The fountain is topped by a restored Egyptian obelisk. The four rivers of the then-known continents are represented by personifications.

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Sufferance, a century-old Church in Rome with some odd artifacts on display within its holy interior. The sizeable, ornate church is located right on the Tiber River at 12 Lungotevere Prati.  It is close enough to that famous waterway, in fact, that you have to cross a nearby bridge to actually get a good view of the complete façade of the church.

Saint Charles Borromeo, 1538-1584 Cardinal Archbishop of Milan behind Saints Ambrose and Charles

Interior of the Church of Saints Ambrose and Charles

A modern controversial statue of Pope John Paul II with the Termini train station in background

PLAQUE IN FRONT OF THE STATUE: “Gift of the Silvana Paolini Angelucci non-profit foundation and the artist to the city of Rome on the occasion of the beatification of His Holiness John Paul II – May 18, 2011”

Papal Audience with Pope Francis arriving in the Popemobile: Wednesday May 1, 2013

Pope Francis riding in the Popemobile

Pope Francis greets the crowds from the Popemobile.

We welcome a group of pilgrims from Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Rochester, New York, USA!

The crowd at the Papal Audience, Wednesday May 1: Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker

Remarks of Pope Francis: A society that fails to pay a fair wage or one that seeks only personal profit is unjust and goes against God, Pope Francis said in a May Day message Wednesday. Addressing pilgrims during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff said work is fundamental for dignity — it gives man "a special dignity, a personal dignity," and men and women who work “are dignified.”  But he noted many who want to work cannot, and many more who do work are exploited.  “Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit — that goes against God,” he said. “This is a burden on our conscience, because when society is organized in such a way that not everyone has the opportunity to work, to be anointed with the dignity of work, then there is something wrong with that society,” he said.  “It is not right. It goes against God himself, who wanted our dignity, starting from here.”

Francis referred directly to the collapse last week of a garment factory in Bangladesh, which killed more than 400 employees. He expressed anger at their salary of $50 a month. “This was the payment of these people who have died,” the Pope said. “This is called slave labor." “How many brothers and sisters throughout the world are in this situation because of these, economic, social, political attitudes?” he asked, lamenting how people have become subordinate to the profit they can offer to those in power.  “What point have we come to? To the point that we are not aware of this dignity of the person,” he said, recalling that May 1 is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis concluded by calling on people to listen to the voice of God, as when he spoke to Cain in the Old Testament and said: "Cain, where is your brother?" Today, he said, God’s voice says: "Where is your brother who has no work? Where is your brother who is subjected to slave labor?”

At the end of the Audience, Pope Francis greeted the Bishops who were with him on the platform.

In the afternoon, our group visited the Pontifical North American College on the Janiculum Hill, (Gianicolo.)  We met the two Rochester seminarians who are studying there. On the left is Peter VanLeishout, from Saint Matthew’s in Livonia and in his fourth year. On the right is Rev. Mr. David Tedesche, from Saint Mary of the Lake in Ontario and in his fifth year. Deacon David will be ordained a priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester on June 22, 2013 by Bishop Robert Cunningham, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Rochester.

Father Gagnier on the roof of the Pontifical North American College: May 1, 2013

With a Swiss Guard at Saint Ann’s Gate to Vatican City

Saint Peter’s Basilica at night

The Belvedere Court of the Vatican Museums

The bronze sculpture “Sphere Within A Sphere” by Arnoldo Pomodoro: ( A Commentary) Blank-eyed kings, faces chipping against the winds of time, bore through the golden orb, while some gods speak out against it, mouth agape and words frozen. From their perspective, the sculpture looks like the Coliseum floating within a golden sphere.  Within this spatial configuration in the Vatican Museum’s Courtyard of the Pine Cone, the pillared cracks in the orb imply the spectacle of gladiator battles, so that, in conjunction with the pagan onlookers, the sculpture seems to cry out against spectacle, against itself. The tribulations of modernity are found in the burden of self-awareness. The sculpture also concerns the complexities of the inside/outside binary, representing the difficulties of the modern era. The inner side of the outer sphere is lined with teeth, just like those locking against each other in the inner sphere, yet despite the harsh teeth rubbing against it, the outer crust of the inner sphere is liquid smooth. Though the jaws of the inner sphere have yet to generate a placid world within, like a pearl budding from an oyster, patterns repeat in time.

This is the Pine Cone referred to above.

Vatican Museum

The Laocoon Group, the first ancient sculpture acquired for the Vatican Museum: The statue of Laocoön and His Sons also called the Laocoön Group, is a monumental sculpture in marble now in the Vatican Museums, Rome. The statue is attributed by the Roman author Pliny the Elder to three sculptors from the island of Rhodes: Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus. A life size work, it shows the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being strangled by sea serpents. he statue was probably originally commissioned for the home of a wealthy Roman. It was unearthed in 1506 near the site of the Domus Aurea of Emperor Nero, in the vineyard of Felice De Fredis. Informed of the fact, Pope Julius II, an enthusiastic classicist, acquired and placed it in the Belvedere Garden at the Vatican now part of the Vatican Museums, which regard this as the start of their history. Michelangelo was called to the site of the unearthing of the statue immediately after its discovery. The discovery of the Laocoön made a great impression on Italian sculptors and significantly influenced the course of Italian Renaissance art. Michelangelo is known to have been particularly impressed by the massive scale of the work and its sensuous Hellenistic aesthetic, particularly its depiction of the male figures. The influence of the Laocoön is evidenced in many of Michelangelo's later works, such as the Rebellious Slave and the Dying Slave, created for the tomb of Pope Julius II. The Florentine sculptor Baccio Bandinelli was commissioned to make a copy by Pope Leo X de' Medici. Bandinelli's version, which was often copied and distributed in small bronzes, is at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Bust over a doorway in the Vatican Museum

The Belvedere Torso, a favorite of Michelangelo

Hellenistic sculpture fragment of a male nude (5 feet 2 5/8 inches) in the Vatican Museum; the work is signed by the Athenian sculptor Apollonius the son of Nestor and was long thought to be a 1st-century-BC original. It is now believed that Apollonius copied a 2nd-century original. The dynamic pose of the torso influenced the development of the energetic figure style of Michelangelo and was subsequently much studied by artists of the Mannerist or Late Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Fr. Gagnier with King Tut from Egypt.  Jim and Sue Allen are in the background.

A ceiling painting in the Vatican Museum.  An optical illusion makes this look like a relief statue.

A tapestry of the Resurrection of Jesus

A view of St. Peter’s from a window in the Museum

A view of the Vatican Gardens with the Vatican Government building in the background.

The Pieta by Michelangelo in Saint Peter’s Basilica

A view down the center aisle of Saint Peter’s Basilica

The Vatican Baptismal Font in Saint Peter’s Basilica

Tomb of Pope John XXIII who reigned from 1958-1963 and started the Second Vatican Council

An altar at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

A plaque in Latin near one of the front doors of Saint Peter’s Basilica reads:

“Giving honor to the Prince of the Apostles, the Knights of Columbus in 1999,

donated generously for the restoration to its original beauty

the atrium of the Vatican Patriarchal Basilica.”


His Eminence, Vergilio Cardinal Noe’

 Archpriest of the Vatican Patriarchal Basilica

A small courtyard between the Museums and the Basilica is dedicated to Saint Gregory the Illuminator.

On Friday February 22, 2008 Pope Benedict XVI dedicated the courtyard with these words:

“I am pleased to recall that my venerable Predecessor John Paul II blessed the statue of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, placed exactly here, just a few months before his death. This great Saint, more than 17 centuries ago, made the Armenians a Christian People, rather, the first People to officially be Christian. The conversion of the Armenians is an event that has profoundly marked Armenian identity, not only on a personal level but for the entire Nation. The term "Illuminator", with which this Saint, so dear to you, is called, highlights the dual function that Saint Gregory played in the history of Armenia's conversion. "Illuminator", in fact, is a term in Christian usage used to indicate the passage from darkness to the light of Christ. And truly, Christ is precisely the great Illuminator who radiates his light on the entire lives of those who accept him and follow him faithfully. Saint Gregory was called the Illuminator precisely because in him the Face of the Savior was reflected in an extraordinary way.”

Back at Holy Name of Jesus Parish Saturday May 4th.