Friday, April 29, 2011

On Peter's Soil

Santo Padre, una volta hai venuto a noi…

…e adesso, noi torniamo a te.

Well, gang, good morning from Rome and what promises to be a beatification for the books.

For starters, just in case any doubt remained that JPII is back in a big way, that shot from the Square yesterday should probably clear things up.

As the scene goes, Day One was fairly calm -- the brunt of the crowd (expected to top out somewhere between one to two million) has yet to arrive, but the feeling around is a well-afoot buzz, with traffic warnings flashing around to remind drivers that the city center around the Vatican is set to be closed to traffic early Sunday.

At the same time, given the Anglosphere's main focus on this Friday morning, by contrast, the locals would probably ask "What royal wedding?" The figure of the late pontiff is dominating the airwaves, with John Paul II's greatest hits playing in a loop on the RAI channels (against a backdrop of triumphal music) and the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, sitting in as a guest-anchor on the state broadcaster's morning show to talk up the Wojtyla legacy.

All that said, it's good to be back in town. It's been a while -- a very long while, to be honest -- and these pages have never before come your way from the Main Office. Accordingly, that's already made for chaos in some parts of the Curia... but given the circumstances, maybe that'd be conspicuous by its absence.

Looking ahead, we've got a full plate in store -- three days of beatification events beginning tomorrow, whatever else comes up along the way... and, of course, Monday's first-ever Vatican meeting on the world of new media (the first leg of which, in a generous, humbling tribute to everyone who's made these pages possible these last six years, this scribe has been tapped to moderate).

This will all take a bit of pacing to get through, but good thing the coffee's as strong as the lunches run long.

Lastly, though, as the free digs were all booked up and the town's famous clerical discounts don't apply to layfolk, time for a needed reminder that these pages keep coming your way solely by means of reader support. So to anyone who's able and up to lend a hand....

As ever, church, all thanks always -- and while we're at it, all apologies for being horribly scattered and/or crazed these last few weeks, and everything fallen through the cracks along the way.

Now you know why that's been the case... still, such is the way things go that what doesn't get done tends to loom far bigger in my mind than what does. If only the wrists could keep up.

Oh, and one more thing -- if anyone's got any special intentions you'd want remembered over here, especially during the few minutes I'll have at the novus Beatus' side following the rites on Sunday, please send them along one way or another and I promise to see 'em home, OK? Above all, know how much you've each and all already been in mind and heart over here, and will be even more as the days build along.

Buona mattina and Blessed Easter Friday. More later... and now, back to the crowd.