By Catherine Dailey.
A special educational, cultural and social event, was held at the Apostolic Nuntiature on 19 March, 2016.
The educational program opened with an informative presentation given by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands, Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, on the meaning and historic traditions behind the Papal Bull of Indiction of Misericordiae Vultus, the “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy,” which officially opened on December 8, 2015 and which will conclude this year on November 20.
Archbishop Cavalli addressed the group of some fifty guests, who were invited for the occasion, in the beautiful chapel located on the grounds of the Apostolic Nunciature, for nearly one hour before accepting questions from his responsive audience.
Special interest was shown in both changes to the Sacrament of Penance and the meaning of the tradition of the “Opening of the Holy Door of Mercy” or “Porta Sancta.” He responded by explaining that during this Jubilee Year, the “Holy Doors of Mercy,” have been opened at all four of the major basilicas in Rome. The basilicas are: the Basilica of St. Peter, the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. In addition, Holy Doors, have been opened at other locations throughout the world. He also answered a number of questions regarding the tradition of plenary indulgences and how they can be gained during this important “Year of Mercy.”
Most in the audience in attendence were familiar with the Papal Bull “Misericordiae Vultus,” meaning “The Face of Mercy” which proclaims that, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”. Archbishop Cavalli informed the group that, “God reveals himself to man throughout history.” Emphasizing that God desires mercy, he further stated that, mercy is always desired, even with respect to the grave sin of homocide. The document, outlines three main theological themes of God’s mercy, and was released by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on the “Sunday of Divine Mercy” last year. Misericordiae Vultus can be freely accessed, in eight languages, on the official website of the Holy See and has been posted on, and linked to, countless more websites in multiple languages throughout the world.
The cultural program, on the theme of tourism and travel to Rome followed his presentation and was presented by Dr. Agostina (Nina) Appetecchia, a lecturer at the University of Rome and an archeologist who specializes in the field of Christian Archeology. She is also a manager of “Do You Explore” a guided tour agency. Appetecchia is a highly sought after tour guide and expert on the Catacombs of Rome, as is attested by her many reviews on Trip Advisor!
The Catacombs of St. Callixtus, she noted, are “among the greatest and most important of the some forty catacombs of Rome”. She encouraged everyone to allow time, while visiting Rome, to visit the catacombs where some of the earliest Christian symbols such as the fish, the anchor, the Alpha and the Omega and the dove can be seen on frescoes which date to the beginning of the third century. She recommended the Catacombs of St. Callixta, as a particularly appropriate place to begin an exploration of the early Roman networks of subterranean burial places, crypts and underground galleries, which were once, and still are on occasion, used for assemblies.
The catacombs, located on the right of the Appian Way, after the famous church of “Domine Quo Vadis” (Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis) are open to the public, with few exceptions, throughout the year . Visitors are encouraged to visit the well designed and highly informative website to prepare for the visit and guided tour possibilities.
The event concluded with a delightful reception and networking opportunity, held in the Nuntiature and hosted by Archbishop Cavalli. Following the two presentations, guests were invited to “cross the bridge” leading from the chapel to the Nuntiature, where they were received in the grand heavily panelled entrance hall. Upon proceeding further to the grand parlor, they were unexpectededly surprised to find a warm crackling fire burning in the imposing hearth, to welcome them to the social hour!
A further surprise was the ‘Roman table” set with an assortment of delicacies, including calzones, presented on a banquet size table covered in white linen. Refreshments, which were offered in the conservatory, included a choice of Italians wines and even included Prosecco! A number of guests departed from the lively and informative event by expressing a renewed interest in visiting Rome during this important year in which many special events are being planned, while others were clearly inspired to plan their first visit to “Roma Aeterna” (The Eternal City) and a “Cradle of Western Civilization.”
The program was organized by Mr. Vincenzo Toscani, founder and administrator, of the Italian Professionals Netherlands (IPN), an active non-commercial networking group with more than 1600 members. He received further support from Msgr. Yovko Pishtiyski, the First Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature; Mr. Franco Fiore of the Italian Catholic Mission in the Netherlands and Mr Hadjitheodosiou, the Group Consul of the InterNations Professional Networking Group in the Hague.
Photography by Edmunda Cepyte and Simone Macrì.
For additional pictures by photographers Edmunda Cepyte and Simone Macrì, please click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121611753@N07/albums/72157666216071376
For additional information:
Italian Professionals Netherlands http://www.italianprofessionals.net/the-italian-professionals-netherlands-networking-group/