Dean's Blog

Holiday in Rome

RomeLast week I returned from Summer leave, which has been a marvellously varied time. We stopped off in Rome for a week, a first for both of us, although I had visited the city with two other friends as theological students (an Australian, a New Zealander and an Englishman) doing a grand tour of Europe more than thirty years ago. But within a few minutes of parking our rather battered car, some young people were undoing the wheel nuts, so we rapidly tightened them up again and headed out of the city as fast as we could.  It’s a fascinating city and wherever you walk there are signs of its rich history.Anglican CentreAs well as visiting many of the famous sites, we took the opportunity to visit the Anglican Centre in Rome, having coffee with the Director and his wife. Friends from our Cambridge days, New Zealanders David and Christine Griffiths (Opera singer/Composer  and Concert pianist) were giving a concert in a small town to the south of Rome to mark the beginning of a Festival. We had not seen them for 30 years but had kept in touch, so that was a joyful reunion. I have vivid memories of David singing Love bade me welcome by George Herbert set to music by Vaughan-Williams at a Good Friday service at St Barnabas’ Church Cambridge accompanied by Christine.David and Christine GriffithsWe also had the joy of meeting up with friends from the Focolare movement with whom we have had links since our time in Hong Kong. When I had the opportunity of study leave at St George’s College, Windsor in my last parish, I wrote a paper on The Focolare Movement and the Church of England. As well as showing us round the Focolare Centre, visiting the community home we enjoyed a wonderful meal out with Tim and Dimitri, whom we had known in the UK. As a movement it is clearly in a period of transition following the death of its charismatic founder, Chiara Lubich, and we saw her grave in the Chapel of the Centre.Focolare Movement

The PopeOn the Sunday we joined the pilgrims in St Peter’s Square for the papal blessing at midday, from  a window high up above the square.