Today, in praying for all readers of the Catholic blog world, I made a quick visit to the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls. It's usually rather quiet there, but today there were lots of faithful and lots of Benedictines, too, hearing confessions.
They have a goofy looking lamp in the outside atrium which is lit for the occasion. The holy door remains closed, but they have opened what they're calling the "Pauline door." It's a nice door, with some odd (cheap looking) plastic-type panels in it to commemorate the event.
As everyone knows, the altar which had been there over the tomb of St. Paul was (sadly) taken out in 2006 (with the permission of the Pope, granted to the German Abbot). They never did open the tomb, but you can now see the exterior of a part of it. Now they have a nice relic displayed there of the chain in which St. Paul is said to have been bound with.
For generations pilgrims have enjoyed seeing the historic baptistry (baptisterium) of the Basilica (near to the sacristy). The Benedictines last month had a giant murky-glass wall put up which now does not allow one to see or enter into the baptistry.
Livid, I asked an employee for how long and why this giant wall was put in. He shared that it was the Abbot who wanted another chapel for private Masses. In knowing that the Basilica is just packed with altars (and chapels), I shook my head at the aging establishment and prayed the Saint Michael the Archangel prayer.
Then it was off to the Lido (Ostia) for a swim (and they finally got a new Lido train!). There's a half dozen "free" beaches there where one does not have to pay. They're crowded, but it's still nice to swim and see all the kids and families having a nice time. Sadly, they never rebuilt the old pier of the Stabilimento Balneare Roma which has been blown up by the Nazis. In fact, even today they don't want people swimming over the water where it had been as its broken foundations are still there under the water. I offer a prayer now they will rebuild it in all its former splendor.
Then off to Rome's newest shopping mall in the suburb of EUR called EUROMA2. This mall is like something out of Las Vegas. It's all marble with obelisks and domes and gold chrome and the like. Mostly womens' clothing stores and everyting is rather expensive (clothes are more expensive in Italy than stateside). But, they do have Rome's first SUBWAY restaurant so for 7 euro one can get a foot long submarine sandwich, a cookie and a drink (yes, there is life south of Milan!).