Pastoral Notes July 1st, 2018

Rome, St Peter & St Paul
The feast of the great martyrs, apostles and patrons of Rome, may bring to mind other ‘monuments’ in the city. Outside the old city walls, on the still visible ancient Roman road, going south, there is a church simply called ‘Domine Quo Vadis?’ – a Latin phrase meaning, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ It recalls a story of St Peter, hasty as ever, fleeing from Rome when the emperor Nero began persecuting quite horribly the Christians (faithfully recorded by a Roman historian). Suddenly Peter was confronted with Jesus, walking towards the city, and he asked, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ to which Jesus replied ‘Into the city to be crucified again’ – and Peter turned around and in due course suffered with his flock, a faithful shepherd. There is also a monument to St Paul, who was officially a Roman citizen, coming from a city granted this privilege. The church and monastery of ‘Tre Fontane’ recalls the beheading of St Paul and three springs marking his execution. The place is still marked today by an ancient Trappist very strict monastery. May the apostles pray for us.