05 December 2015

Of lights and pavements: Last minute preparations for the Jubilee of Mercy in Rome

With the opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy just a few days away, last minute preparations are underway in both the city of Rome and in the Vatican City State (some of which will probably be completed in time).

Not having yet seen the Basilica of St. Peter lit at night, I decided to take a walk to the Vatican hill last evening and was met with a bit of a surprise. For a moment, I was able to look upon the basilica without lights:


I was able to enjoy the sight, however, for only a moment or two before I saw something I did not expect:

 




The lights cast upon the facade of the basilica last night were part of the preparations for a light show to be shown on the walls of the basilica Tuesday, as His Excellency the Most Reverend Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization announced yesterday:
The evening of December 8th will conclude in Saint Peter’s Piazza with a meaningful and unique presentation entitled “Fiat lux: Illuminating Our Common Home”. It will be a projection of photographs onto the fa├žade and cupola of Saint Peter’s, taken from a repertoire of some of the world’s great photographers. These illuminations will present images inspired of Mercy, of humanity, of the natural world, and of climate changes. [more].
If you only receive your Vatican news from the media, you might think the light show is only about climate change, but the Archbishop's words show otherwise. Precisely why the basilica is being used as a projector screen is a bit beyond me.

Before I left the Square, I was about to get a picture of the basilica without lights, though my camera seems to have used all available light to get a pretty decent picture, one not quite as dark as I had hoped:


As I looked back on the basilica before I left the Square, another unexpected image was shown onto the basilica:


This morning I returned to the Vatican basilica and show a few workers laboring on the repair of one of the principal pilgrim routes leading to the Castel Sant'Angelo, which is to be the principle gathering place just before pilgrims walk the last stretch to the Basilica of St. Peter:


They have been working on this for, if memory serves, more than two weeks now and though the Commissioner of Rome claimed many days ago that construction would be "24/7," I can assure you this work has only continued in the daylight hours. I don't expect they'll have the road in use by Tuesday.

I passed through St. Peter's Square to go to my favorite bakery in Rome to get a couple of pastries for breakfast, which I ate sitting in the colonnade of the Square. As I enjoyed my sweet breakfast I was able to watch a couple of men at work repainting the lamp posts in the surrounding the obelisk:



I think they'll have this finished in time.

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