Day 10: Thursday, June 18, 2014
St. Thomas Aquinas’ texts for the Feast of Corpus Christi were our focus on this our final day in Rome. While planning for the trip, I had overlooked the fact that our stay in Rome would coincide with the Feast of Corpus Christi. Once I realized what we had in store for this Thursday, I added the rest of Thomas’ Eucharistic poetry (I had already included the Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem for our trip to Fossanova) to the Course Reader. Mass in the evening at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini was beautiful, as expected, and the students were also able to see something that they had not witnessed before: a proper Eucharistic procession with canopy, incense, and bells. At Mass, I bumped into an old acquaintance, Jonathan Arrington, who teaches Latin and Greek at the Angelicum. This was a happy meeting indeed, for it was a pleasure to catch up with him, and he steered us to just the right place for dinner. Then, after some gelatto near the Campo de’ Fiori, we walked up the Gianicolo to enjoy a last view of the city by night. As you can see from the photograph above, whether by day or night, the view is impressive!
Looking back on our trip to Rome, I very much appreciate what one of the students said to me towards the end. She remarked on how helpful ten days of more or less continuous Latin reading had been for growing in her facility with Latin. She also indicated her renewed interest in learning to speak Latin; our conversations with Msgr. Gallagher, Eric Hewett, Cardinal Burke, Jonathan Arrington, and Fr. Giertych had all brought home the value of an active command of the language. To study in Rome, where Latin is ubiquitous and even Latin speakers are not hard to find, gives one a great deal of encouragement. I am delighted that our students were able to experience this and to return home with a renewed zeal for the language at the heart of our civilization and Catholic faith.