Today was a quiet day. A good quiet. I will explain.
I got up early, before dawn even, due to jet lag. The city was very quiet. It gave me a chance to ease into the day, so I went on the roof and prayed as the sun rose. Here is a pic from the balcony, with the early morning sunlight hitting a fairly well-known church that is just down the road:
We had mass around 9:30 am, and then I had to head to a meeting at one of the Roman congregations. That was busy, but it did include a delightful moment of prayer prior to going into the meeting itself: the Angelus, prayed in Latin, followed by the prayers Sub Tuum Praesidium and the prayer to Saint Michael. I had a bit of trouble following along out loud as I am not used to praying these all in Latin, but at least I can say I knew where we were and what we were praying!
After the meeting I had a chance to go for lunch with a friend who works here in Rome. It was nice to catch up, and I'm glad we did it now, as the synod schedule looks pretty packed. I'm not sure we'd have the time to do it later in a leisurely fashion.
With lunch done I headed to the Paul VI audience hall, where I had to drop off a copy of the speech I'll be giving during the synod. A fun fact about this building is that the roof is covered in solar panels, helping to make the Vatican as carbon-neutral (and energy autonomous) as possible.
As the hall is located right next to Saint Peter's Basilica, I decided to go inside by a side door. By this time it was almost 3:30 pm, the time when the confessionals are opened in the afternoon. I really wanted to go to confession as part of my spiritual preparation for the synod. Happily an elderly Franciscan was available who spoke English. He was very kind, and listened patiently as this foreign bishop lived this moment of grace. I just love confession.
The rest of the day was relatively light, just emails (and a bit of blogging!). The real fun starts tomorrow, with the inaugural mass in Saint Peter's square. Tune in tomorrow for highlights from that experience!