Rome is filled with unexpected delights. Yesterday evening, I went to St. John Lateran for a free concert: Haydn’s “Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross.” Beautifully performed in the semi-darkness of the great church, each word narrated by an Italian monsignor, followed by a sonata.

Instead of turkey, we had some pasta. Not the same.

Today, I got to the Museo Capitoline, which Fr. Adriano assures me is the second best museum in the city. The rain kept people away from the place, so it seemed to be all mine.  I was interested in the little collection of 2nd-3rd century funeral monuments of Roman soldiers, many of them once stationed on the Coelian Hill near our church, one of the favorite bases for soldiers in the city. A further clue for soldier martrys housed and honored here?

Long rows of statues and sculptures from early Rome peer out at you as you walk through this great museum which thoughtfully lets you look out at the Roman forum from time to time. I noticed many of them are gifts from Benedict XIV, the greatest of the 18th century popes, who loved to look at the past and draw wisdom for it.

Tomorrow I’m off to San Pudentiana, where I’ll be meeting two archeology students from Oxford and go down under the church to the excavations below. I hope, anyway.They are interested in house churches.

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