As in previous years, our community made a pilgrimage to Rome for Holy Week and Easter this year, joining the community of the Pontifical Scots College for the silent Holy Week retreat and for the celebration of the Easter Triduum.
Although we are a much larger community this year – and so could easily sustain the celebration on our own – both rectors felt there was still much to be gained by bringing the two communities together not only to share the experience, the prayer and the liturgies, but also to let the seminarians meet and get to know each other.
The experience of the retreat was a positive and fruitful one, in a retreat house at Rocca di Papa, in the hills outside Rome, supported by Fr Stuart Chalmers, our Spiritual Director and Fr Mark Cassidy, his counterpart in the Rome College. The seminarians further on in their course were directed by a number of Jesuit priests from Rome. For some of ours, this was their first experience of an extended silent retreat, a challenge at first but rewarding in the end.
The Easter Triduum began with our Rector, Fr Tom Kilbride, presiding at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, a liturgy which our community animated musically too. Fr Stuart Parkes, the vice-rector in Rome, celebrated the Good Friday liturgy of the Passion and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick, the rector of the College, presided and preached at the Easter Vigil which was, in every sense, a shared endeavour, with our seminarians involved in the reading, canting, serving and playing the organ. A celebration thereafter included jamón ibérico and cheeses brought to Rome as a gift from our community to our hosts – all of which was devoured in short order!
Easter Week was a break for our seminarians, and, while many headed home to Scotland on Easter Sunday, others remained in Rome for a few days. Among the highlights was the Holy Father’s Easter morning Mass in St Peter’s Square.
Below are a couple of images from our few days – our own community as well as the combined communities including the sisters who live and work in the College in Rome.
!Felices Pascuas a todos! – Buona Pasqua a tutti!