These seven and a half years have been a remarkable time in my journey as a Christian and a religious. I have had the opportunity to get to know the Capuchin Order at the international level and have lived and worked with friars from all over the world. Twice I had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis.
On the other hand, this assignment hasn't always been easy; there have been times of darkness and difficulty for sure. As my first counterpart for Portuguese (I was secretary for English) put it, the best things in Rome are pasta, vino, e Fiumicino! meaning that, ok, the food here is good but what's best is to go home.
Nevertheless, this has been a time much blessed by God. A lot of that grace I can already discern, but I'm sure much more will be noticed over time.
There are plenty of things I won't miss about my existence in Rome and Italy. In order to avoid getting negative as I was finishing up my Roman period, I began to cultivate a list of some of the stuff I will miss:
- probably more than anything else, up to date Roman-Franciscan/Capuchin liturgical texts and books
- going to Assisi for the day
- confession available every day, morning and afternoon
- the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto and the 6 a.m. walk through Villa Borghese when it was my turn to celebrate weekday Mass for them
- visits to the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and the Libreria La Leoniana
- St. Peter's Basilica early in the morning
- the Italian Bishops' Conference Liturgy of the Hours mobile app
- not having to remember the name of a local bishop at Mass
- multicultural Christmas eve suppers with the handful of friars left
- cappuccino e cornetto
- pizza al taglio