Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter in Rome: To Bless, or Not to Bless.

There is a nice tradition in Italy where every year before Easter, the Parish Priests of each of the local Catholic Churches divide up the neighborhood and make a home visit to every household in order to offer an Easter blessing.
It seems that each year, this phenomenon provokes different reactions in me. One of the first years that I lived here and was actually home when the priest came, we had him come in, he shook some incense around and mumbled a prayer, and went on his way.

A few years later, when I had a newborn child at home, the knock on my door took me by surprise (who has time to read those little white announcements while fighting to survive the sleepless hell of new motherhood?). I opened the door, and saw a middle aged man wearing a robe, and was instantly terrified (this time, the paranoid fears of new motherhood). I told him "No Grazie" and closed the door.

The following  year, when I saw the notice downstairs I made it a point to stay late working on Vatican Tours, dreading that it would be the same guy who got the door slammed in his face.

This year, I believe that one should never turn away a blessing or well-wishing, no matter who it comes from. In this chaotic world, we can use all the help we can get. I only hope he doesn't mind when I ask to see his credentials.
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