Thursday, November 02, 2006

La Festa dei Morti

It might be doubted how seriously the average Italian takes his Catholicism. The story is told, after all, of the Italian who was asked why he didn't attend mass every week. He explained that certainly he was a Catholic, but not a fanatic.
One thing Italians to take seriously though, is their beloved dead. A visit to the family vault is an essential part of the November routine. The Roman public transport system lays on additional services on those bus and tram routes which serve the cemeteries. And so it was that I made my way to the Campo Verano, Rome's monumental burial ground, knew that Napoleon's instigation.My first port of call was the North American College's vault. Until the middle of the 20th century, it is not unusual for seminarians to be buried in Rome, rather than return home for burial. Consequently, quite a number of the Roman colleges have vaults here.
As you can see,the interior of the vault is like a little chapel with an altar. The seminarians are buried in the niches on either side. On the right, one can see the resting place (click image to enlarge) of Servant of God Frank Parater. (Bloggers Chiara and Cnytr both have a devotion to Frank.)
After visiting the NAC vault, I made my way to that owned by the Vatican for the clergy of St Peter's. Quite a number of the tombs have wordy Latin inscriptions. It is notable that sometimes, however, the most distinguished and noble men have the simplest epitaphs.

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