Sunday, August 8, 2010

Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Peter in Chains

Wednesday we went to the miracle of the snow mass at Santa Maria Maggiore.  Legend says that a long time ago, some man had a vision of an angel telling him that in a few days it would miraculously snow in Rome.  So, the man went and told the Pope about his vision.  And the Pope dismissed him as some kind of crazy man, since it was August, and it of course doesn't snow in Rome in August.  It would be a miracle if it snowed in the middle of winter, but it certainly wouldn't snow in August.  So, a couple days later, some other man comes running to the Pope with news that its snowing in Rome.  So, the Pope and his people go out to see it, and sure enough, its snowing.  So, they built Santa Maria Maggiore over the spot where it had been snowing, and every year on August 5th (the day of the miraculous snow), they re-create the miracle by holding a special Papal mass (which is a misnomer, since the Pope doesn't actually come, just cardinals and such) and dropping rose pettals from the ceiling.

Sounds cool, right?

Well, it sounds a lot cooler than it was.  I was amazed how rude people were during the wole thing.  There weren't enough seats for everyone, so people were just milling around the aisles talking during the whole thing!  And they were taking pictures with their flash on (which has been a no-no in all the other churches we've been to, even when they're not holding mass).  And then, the recreation of the miracle involved the removal of one ceiling tile and flower petals being sprinkled down for about ten minutes.  Not very exciting.  And since, I was sitting in the very back row, with people standing and talking in the aisles in front of me, I couldn't see any of the cardinals or anything that was going on up front, so I was very dissappointed.  It felt more like a tourist attraction than a religious ceremony.

Oh, well!  Here's some pictures:

After that, we went over to St. Peter in Chains, because they have a Michelangelo statue of Moses.

They also had the supposed chains that Peter was held in when he was in Jerusalem.

No comments:

Post a Comment