Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Staying at the Domus
By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
Well, I'll be dining out on the fact that like Pope Francis, I too have stayed at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the guest house at the Vatican that the pope has opted for over the papal apartments. He'll get a two-room suite. I had a single room when I stayed there about a year ago while at meetings in Rome.
The Domus means still more simple living for Pope Francis, who is making simplicity the hallmark of the start of his papacy. (I just called a colleague who is slated to be at the Domus in the spring to alert her to the fact that the diner in all white at the next table [or maybe hers] will likely be the pope.)
Vatican reports say the pope chose the Domus for community -- he can share meals with Vatican staff who live there and with visitors, for example. It has a nice size chapel and also is walking distance to his church, St. Peter's Basilica. The phones work well, which may be no small matter for the man who continues to call old friends and aquaintances despite his recent promotion. Security used to be tight at the Domus because of its location inside the Vatican. It will be tighter now, for sure.
The pope's plans for Holy Thursday will be simple too. Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, Vatican spokesman, said the Mass of the Lord's Supper that the pope will celebrate at a penitential institute for minors will have but two concelebrants, the institute's chaplain and Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome. Around 10 girl and 40 boys will take part in the Mass and the pope will wash the feet of 12 of them. About 150 people in all are expected to attend. The youth will give the pope a wooden crucifix and kneeler they made in a workshop, and the pope will bring them Easter eggs and a traditional Italian Easter cake shaped like a dove.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco stopped by the USCCB today for an interview with Catholic News Service. He was in town to speak at a march on the U.S. Suprerme Court, which today heard arguments on Proposition 8, the California law that said marriage was defined as between a man and a woman. Tomorrow the Court hears arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law which states that for federal government purposes, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. We can expect decisions on these cases in June, at the end of the term.
Met with media relations staff to discuss what's on the agenda for after Easter and it's immigration, with an audio press conference slated for April 3, featuring Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City. Archbishop Gomez chairs the bishops' Committee on Migration and Bishop Wester, the Committee on Communications.