Covering Rome By Foot & Celebrating Mass At The Chiesa Nuova Church

Good evening. I hope you had restful weekend.

I did a bit of walking around Rome today.


Making our way through the crowds after leaving the Vatican.


Moments after leaving St. Peter’s Square, I met some very nice people from Hartford, CT.


Crossing the Fiume Tevere. You can see Castel San Angelo and the Bridge of Angels in the background.


This Angel towered over the other end of the bridge.

One of the things that I often do when I come to Rome is to say mass at the Chiesa Nuova, which is the church of the Fathers of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, located in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. By foot, its located approximately 15-20 minutes away from the Vatican. This little church is more formally called Saint Mary in Vallicella. I understand that it may have actually been built by Pope St. Gregory the Great.

Saint Philips church is called Chiesa Nuova, which means the new church. Its dedicated to Our Lady and St. Gregory the Great.

I visited the church this morning with the hope of saying mass at 11:00, but there was a mass just about to begin when we arrived, so I scheduled a time to say mass this evening at 6:15. We check with their schedule so that we are not bumping into their public masses.

I mentioned the Priest of the Oratory community….it was established by Saint Philip Neri. Cardinal John Henry Newman – you may have seen his name recently in the media because of the Boston tie to a Cardinal Newman miracle currently being investigated – used to stay here in Rome at the church where I said mass. Theres the connection to Boston with Chiesa Nuovawith the possible miracle and investigation that may lead to his beatification, leading to his canonization. From what I understand this Cardinal Newman process is moving ahead and people are coming this Fall to conduct interviews in Boston about his case. The whole process, as you could imagine, is kept confidential by Vatican officialsgiven the sensetivity of the matter, you can certainly understand that.

Ive always liked the church and Saint Philip Neri is an extraordinary saint. Among other things he was known for his great sense of humor. So I think thats a positive human quality of the saints. He was very close to the first Capuchins, particularly Saint Felix. The Capuchins were located very close-by the Chiesa Nuova. Saint Felix is buried at the Bone Church, which I walked by today, but it was closed. Saint Felix and Saint Philip were very good friends.

Fr. Brian and I said Mass earlier this evening in the Chiesa Nuovas Saint Philips Chapel.


Walking to the entrance of the St. Philip’s Chapel.


Saying Mass.


The Chapels construction was completed in 1602 and the body of Saint Philip was laid to rest beneath the altar in a crystal casket that same year.

Saint Philip’s casket is just to my left.

Above the altar is a mosaic depicting Saint Philip. It was created by artist Guido Reni. Above the mosaic, there is a dove, which represents the Holy Spirit. The walls inside the chapel depict the miracles preformed by the Saint.



We vested in the Sacrestia prior to saying the mass.



At the far end of the Sacrestia, there is a famous statue of Saint Philip, a work of Alessandro Algardi.


Another view of the statue at the end of the Sacrestia.


Mass open to all at Chiesa Nuova.

Better views of the “High Altar” of Chiesa Nuova.



The ceiling of Saint Philips Chapel in Chiesa Nuova.


The Ges.

I also walked to the Ges. I like to visit the Jesuit church when I come to Rome, because of Saint Ignatiusand the fact that hes buried there.and its such a beautiful church. Id like to share with you much more about the Ges and my visit there today, the Jesuits and Saint, I will share some of those thoughts with you in one of my upcoming blog entries in the next couple of days.


I also passed by the Major Penitentiary. An American Cardinal, Cardinal Francis Stafford, works in that office, which is an ecclesiastical tribunal and deals with dispensations, indulgenceswhat we call questions of internal forum. Cardinal Stafford was the Archbishop of Denver previously.


We passed by the Church of the Stigmata.


You can see from the picture above, that there are folded arms high above the church. What they arm is Christ and one arm is Saint Francis.both with the wounds. That was the idea – Saint Francis had the wounds of Christ, the stigmata. The one with the sleeve is Saint Francis with a habit, the other, the bare arm, is Christ on the Cross. That has become a symbol for the order since the time of Saint Bonaventure. In every Franciscan Bishops Coat of Arms, youll always find the crossed arms.

My Coat of Arms…notice the “folded arms.”


When we leave or enter the Vatican, we must pass through the security gates. As I passed through today, the Swiss Guard gave their customary salute.

But before going back to my room, I bought three newspapers….The ABC, a Madrid newspaper…The International Herald….and 30 Giorni, an Italian Catholic newspaper that is printed every 30 days.
Tomorrow I have a morning planning meeting for the Mass and ceremony next weekend at Santa Maria della Vittoria, Boston’s Titular Church.

Have a good night….until my next post…..

God Bless,

Cardinal Sen

44 thoughts on “Covering Rome By Foot & Celebrating Mass At The Chiesa Nuova Church”

  1. Hello Cardinal Sean-
    I would love to know your opinion about Adoration? Do you spend time in Adoration? I am fairly young and I started going to Adoration about 5 years ago. I wish more people knew the benefits of going to Adoration. Our parish has had perpetual adoration for over 10 years. My faith continues to increase the more I go and I feel stronger. I think this is an incredible opportunity for the Catholic Church in many respects but I think it is underutilized overall. Thanks for sharing your opinions with me.


    Rebecca (Is it possible to keep me last name from the post. I am a very private person) Thanks again.

  2. Gostei do blog do Cardeal Sen! Fotos interessantes sobre as atividades. Conhec o Cardeal por ocasio do Consistrio e uma pessoa muito cordial e fala muito bem o portugus. Com ele estava tambm seu secretrio Pe. Brian, com o qual fiz uma boa amizade.
    Muitas felicidades!!

  3. Wonderful communication form, Cardinal Sean, the closest I have been to the Church in a while; I’m enjoying your down to earth descriptive style and the photos are top shelf, as close to The Eternal City as I’ll get this year! God bless you on your journey and I look forward to more posts of your trip.

  4. Querido Cardenal Sean, es un placer leer su blog diariamente. Ojal haya ms obispos y cardenales que se animen a tener sus propios blogs. Yo se lo pienso proponer al mo, Monseor Jess Sanz Montes, ofm, obispo de Huesca y Jaca, que escribe muy bien.
    Las fotos que nos est poniendo en el blog son preciosas. Ruego a Dios para que usted se lleve a Amrica lo mejor del carisma de San Po Pietralcina.

    Dios le guarde

  5. Wow those pictures are awesome! Cardinal Sean, you rock. Honestly, you’re the coolest cardinal in the whole church. I love the picture of the Gesu, especially since I go to B.C.High, the Jesuit High School of Boston. I hope you’ll have time to talk more about that.

  6. The blog is a terrific idea! Thanks for doing all you can to engage people in new and dynamic ways! Our college daughter (Junior at Washington and Lee in VA) says “it rocks!”
    She’s right!

  7. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thank-you for your commentary and photos. I look forward to the end of the day so I can read your newest entry.

    Paul Bates

  8. Padre Sean,
    Me alegra mucho ver que esta haciendo uso del Internet para comunicarse y compartir sus experiencias con el pueblo de Dios. Continu orando por todos nosotros. Nosotros continuaremos orando por Ustedes.
    Afectuosamente en Cristo, Jos y Maria.

  9. Cardinal Sean,

    I am really enjoying reading your daily entries about your trip to Rome and the pictures are magnificent! I plan to share this with my students at Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen in the coming days. I know they’ll really get a kick out of the fact that their Cardinal has a blog! LOL! Not to mention, I would love for them to see the beautiful pictures of the Padre Pio Shrine and also to read some of your entries about the history of some of these beautiful people/places in Rome.
    I hope you continue to enjoy your time in Rome. Please extend our warm wishes to Fr. Brian as well.
    Safe travel…God Bless!
    Colleen Donohoe

  10. Your Eminence,
    Congratulations on the photos, your prose, and your entire approach.

    You made a few comments on these Roman churches (Nuova, Gesu). As the week goes along, could you reflect back on the new church at San Giovanni Rotondo? I’m not fishing for comments on “controversial” contemporary architecture, but am rather interested in your opinion on the edifice precisely as a Catholic shrine — does it serve the liturgy well? Did it facilitate your role as celebrant? Thanks for all that you do and are.
    Tom Ryan

  11. Hi Cardinal sean –
    I love Rome! I’m glad you’re visit is going so well. I’m curious though – why did you celebrate Mass with your back to the audience? Couldn’t a small portable altar have been brought in to avoid any semblance of neo-tridentinism? Also – I’d love to hear your reflections on why it was so important to “say mass”. Couldn’t you have just attended the Mass that was beginning as you arrived?
    Cheers and blessings,
    John Mark

  12. Dear Cardinal Sen,

    This is a wonderful site. I have enjoyed very much reading about what you have been doing in Rome. The photographs are also amazing. The Vatican looks an amazing place!

    God bless,


  13. I’ve been enjoying Cardinal Sean’s Blog and his trip in and near Rome. It’s great to read his posts and see the photos. The only suggestion I have is to move most of the new photos into an online Gallery rather than keep them all on the main page. You’ve added a lot of photos, which I enjoy, but would rather see just a few on the main page with a link to see more.

    This is a great start, and I hope there will be a lot more from Cardinal Sean, even after this trip has ended!

  14. I am Orthodox but enjoyed your virtual trip around some of the (mostly baroque) Roman churches. You seem to be a more modern, more accessible, even more democratic type of prelate which is to be welcomed. I ask for your prayers.

    In Xto:
    Fr Pavel Stefanov

  15. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Greetings from Boston! A fellow MAM student informed me about your blog so I found my way to the public library to review the chronicles of your trip on line.

    As Pope JP II wrote that the media stands as an effective pulpit to reach the millions!

    Seeing the beauty of Rome on your blog transported me from whatever was previously on my mind. Thank-you for arranging the communication and may your trip be a fruitful one.

    We will pray for your safe return.

    Ellen O.

  16. Thank you very much.
    It’s so amazing to see the Vatican thru the eyes of another man, morethan, thru the eyes of God’s priest.
    Hope to read some more information about your visit.

    May God keep you and Bless you.
    Alexander, 24, protestant from Moscow,Russia.

  17. Cardinal Sean,
    It is truly a distinct pleasure to read your blog. Although I am a bit confused by this world wide web contaption, your voice of reason is quite a blessing to experience while I am fighting my inner demons. The Lord has truly blessed us with your leadership. I watch you on the television every day and am truly inspired to put aside all my wicked ways and behaviors. God Bless you and all your flock! Give my best to all the priests and holy persons in God’s great land of Rome!

  18. Great blog Father! I enjoyed reading it all and seeing all the fantastic pictures. I wish I could be there with you.

    Thank You

  19. Hmmm…interesting uniforms the swiss guards are wearing. Are they the original uniforms or have they changed over the years? Very colorful for sure.

    I would imagine that security at the vatican has been beefed up majorly after the threats by certain islamofascists. I hope that is the case and that they are checking everybody closely before letting them in.

    The Chiesa Nuova altar is quite amazing to look at. Gorgeous.

  20. Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you for taking the time to provide us with reflections of your trip to Rome. I have enjoyed reading your blog immensely. Please consider continuing this blog upon your return to Boston.

  21. Thanks for all your work and pictures! The Franciscan world is surely blessed with our new cardinal.

    I maintain a blogroll over on my blog for the promotion of the Franciscan blogosphere, and I’ve added this site to it!

    Pax et Bonum!

  22. Greetings from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom!
    I am originally from Boston and now live in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont. The pictures make me feel as if I’m right there enjoying the trip with you!
    I have a great devotion to St. Pio and was excited to see the pictures of the places that he lived! Thank-you so much for this opportunity!
    Peace be with you!

  23. Hello,

    I just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying reading this blog very much. I am an anthropology student who favors the study of religion. I am drawn, on occasion, to the beauty of the Catholic faith and am delighted to be able to veiw your travels and see the human side of things.

    Love and Light,

  24. Awesome blog your Eminence (And I’m not just saying that to kiss the Cardinal’s butt)! Have you ever thought about posting your vocation story on the internet?

  25. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We are keeping you in prayer here at St. Philip Neri Parish in Waban and especially appreciate your comments about our patron Saint Philip Neri. A good sense of humor is such a gift – it reminds us not to take ourselves or our own situation too seriously. I am enjoying the beautiful pictures which bring back to memory the choir trip we took in 1999 along with the choir from St. Paul’s in Wellesley.
    May you continue to be blessed on your journey and we look forward to seeing you again safely back in Boston. – Peg Miller

  26. Hi Cardinal Sean…great job on your blog page….pictures are just beautiful…….makes me feel like I am there in Rome.
    I hope to travel there some day…….thanks for the opportunity to share by internet……..I just signed on today 9/25 and viewed all the other blogs from 9/21. God bless you and may Our Blessed Lady keep you safe……..please pray for my family especially my little grandchildren Jessica,age4 and Matthew,
    age19months. Julia Russell, Easton,MA.

  27. I am a Filipino American living near Atlantic City. I am very happy -estatic- to learn about your website. I am very confident I am not alone in expressing my happiness to have a catholic website like this where we can learn from you and have some sensitive answers to our questions and enlightenment about our religion. I will be a regular visitor of this web. May God shower his mercy and help to you. God bless you.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It is delightful to read!

    Best wishes,
    Anne Easterling
    Austin, Texas

  29. Cardinal Sean –
    Gorgeous pictures. Wonderful commentary. Thank you for keeping in touch with us this way.

    We are blessed to have you in Boston. I’m glad you are feeling more at home with us.

  30. Good Evening Cardinal Sean
    I am an Aussie and started to read your blog simply because of the mention of Rome and thought I’d like to see the pictures as my only overseas trip was to Italy in 2001. We had a wonderful time in Rome staying at a convent near Campo De Fiori where we met a British priest (Fr George Dangerfield) who generously showed us around the Vatican area…hopefully one day we will return. Also spent a week in Assissi (a very spiritual expereince for me)
    Thank you for the pictures and comments about Padre Pio – he is someone I dont know a lot about – other than the stigmata – but obviously a lot of other people do.
    Enjoy your time and peace.

  31. Most beautiful pictures. It must be very invigorating to be in the Eternal City. I have a friend that just returned from 10 years of work in Rome. God Bless.

  32. It is so exciting to have this inside view of your travels! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    God bless you, Your Eminence!

  33. Cardinal Sean,

    I am really enjoying your blog entries each day. You are really making these events come alive: it is almost as if I am there to witness them in person. I appreciate all of your thoughtful insights. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip to Rome.


  34. We like your coat of arms and would like to know what the rest of the symbols mean. Also we think your motto says something like “Who will have spoken with him easily,” but we’re sure we don’t have that right. Would you please tell us the English translation of yourmotto?

    Thank you,
    Allison in Illinois
    P.S. The photographs you’ve posted are wonderful! Thank you for sharing your trip.

  35. Dear Padre Sean, we are enjoying your blog and knowing so much about you and the saints and the holy places in Rome! We are having you constantly in our prayers and we send you our love. We saw you yesterday in an interview on Padre Pio Tv and radio website! Today at 10am, in the Basilica of the National Shrine, we have mass in honor of our dear Padre Pio. The Cript Church was completely full. We remember all the Capuchins and give thanks to our Lord for all the franciscans, especially for you, who are a true Padre for all of us and a holy priest.

  36. Cardinal Sean,

    Thanks for allowing us to come along with you through this blog. It is wonderful to read your thoughts and see these beautiful pictures.

    We are looking forward to your future posts.

    You are always in our thoughts and prayers.

    May God bless and protect you always.

    Dennis, Betty-Ann & James Patrick
    Fall River, MA

  37. Excellent blog! And superb photos. Keep up the good work. I hope that more Bishops and Carindals (and even politicians) take your lead and setup blogs. Well Done.


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September 2006

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