I got up around 10-something, came to studio to eat breakfast, then headed down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. When I passed Chiesa Nuova I saw that the doors were open so I walked in. It's a bit embarrassing that I couldn't remember if I had set foot in Chiesa Nuova this trip because the interior of the church looked familiar-ish but not familiar enough. (Stroikian semi-sarcasm: They're all alike, right? You've seen one thermal window motif you've seen 'em all). Then I saw this:
I was here as a kid. It was only a decade later when I stood outside with Michael Graves and went into the oratory library and watched the concentration on Professor Ingrid Rowland's face as she tried to read the Hebrew on the ceiling. Most of my memories from coming to Italy as a child are the tombs of saints. Churches blur together into nothingness (except St. Peter's and the Lateran) but I remember the relics.
There were a bunch of seminarians/priests walking around and as I began to head out of the church I happened to turn around and see a chasuble at this side altar. Not wanting to pass up this opportunity to attend Mass said over St. Philip Neri's body, I went back to the chapel and hesitantly stood there for a bit before kneeling down. It was a private mass and I felt awkward being the only person besides the priest and the seminarian serving. An elderly couple soon appeared and the three of us made up the congregation. At some point during all of this I realized that the priest wasn't speaking Italian but was speaking Latin. The server stumbled on the Confiteor and the priest had to help him a bit through the end of it. So I stumbled upon a Tridentine Mass at the altar of St. Philip Neri in Chiesa Nuova completely out of the blue. I was elated. The elderly couple knew the Latin and before we sat down for the offertory the woman turned and smiled at me for some reason. Maybe she was happy that I knew exactly how to participate and wasn't confused by the Latin. The priest had such a French accent so all the Latin sounded Frenchified. It was great.
Everything was just beautiful until the personification of Italy walked in. A man holding a ridiculous handful of clanking skeleton keys told us to leave right in the middle of Mass. The church was "closed". During the middle of the offertory the church was closed and he wouldn't take no for an answer. We had to leave. So I did.
The elderly couple didn't know what nationality I was and I didn't know what nationality they were so we didn't really bother talking; however, we all exchanged looks that read something like "This is so, so stupid. Why is Italy so lame? Oh well. This was great while it lasted." They seemed like really nice people. Good old Universal Church.
After this I kept walking down the corso and went into the bookshop where I previously found the T.S. Eliot. I wanted to look at their prints because they sell a bunch for reasonable prices. I picked up some small prints because if you got a few it was cheaper and they are small enough not to get ruined on the trip home.
|In honour of hot chocolate escapades. Also that's some sweet lace.|