Rome 1st June 1878


Rome, May 25, 1878

The Vatican:  The Marquis de Gabriac, the new French  Ambassador, and the secretaries and officials of the French Embassy, were driven in three state carriages to the Vatican on the 20th of May. The Marquis was met at the entrance to the Pontifical apartments by two of the Camerieri di Spada e Cappa and conducted to the Sala degli Arazzi. The Pope, attended by his Court in full uniform, and preceded by his cross-bearer, entered the Throne-room about 11 a.m. The Swiss Guards and Pontifical Gendarmes, the Palatine Guard, and a detachment of the Noble Guards were present in the antechambers. Monsignor Martinucci, Prefect of Pontifical Ceremonies, conducted the Ambassador to the Throne-room, and the Acting Master of the Chamber, Mgr. Van der Branden, introduced him to his Holiness. The Ambassador presented his credentials and was cordially received by his Holiness. The Pope then signified his pleasure to make the audience private, and, all other persons withdrawing, he was left alone with the Ambassador. At the termination of this private interview, the secretary and gentle-men of the Embassy were presented to Leo XIII. The Ambassador subsequently paid a visit of ceremony to Cardinal Franchi, the Secretary of State.

On the same day, the 20th, about 300 persons, lay and ecclesiastical, were admitted to audience in the Consistorial Hall and in other apartments of the Vatican. Mgr. Kirby was honoured by a special audience on the 20th to present to his Holiness a richly bound copy of a dissertation, entitled De Rom. Pontificis jure Appellationes excipiendi,&c. This dissertation was written in the year 1835, when the Pious Society of the Priests of St. Paul offered a prize for the best essay on the subject of the right of the Supreme Pontiff to hear appeals from all the faithful without exception. Mgr. Kirby at that time was in holy orders and an alumnus of the Roman Seminary, the Apollinare, and Leo XIII. was then the Rev. Gioacchino Pecci. Both, as well as many other young priests, competed for the prize offered by the St. Paul’s Society. And the prize was won by Father Pecci. But the essay of Father Kirby was next in merit, and was honoured with a second prize, the censors describing it as powerfully written and replete with erudition. Leo XIII. a little time ago reminded Mgr. Kirby of their early days as fellow students, and of the concursus for the prize offered by the Society of St. Paul. The Pope suggested that Mgr. Kirby should print his essay, and gave permission that it should be dedicated to himself. The essay was accordingly searched for, and was printed at the Propaganda Press, and was then presented, as already related, to his Holiness.

On Thursday, the 23rd, the German pilgrims, over 150 in number, were received in audience in the hall of Consistory. The deputation included Count Felix Löe, President ; Counts Louis Arco, Preysing, Maximilian Löe, Korff-Schmising, Hahn, Hoensbroech ; Barons Ketteler, Beckendorff, Vequel, and Reichlin-Meldegg ; and Messrs. Eheberg, formerly Councillor of State, of Munich ; Dr. Lingens, Deputy to the Reichstag; Haas, Director of the Postzeitung of Augsburg ; Dr. Kalt, Mgr. Zehrt, and Mgr. Orsbach. The address, which was in Latin, was read by Count Felix Löe. The Pope replied in Latin, and said he was encouraged by these numerous and influential pilgrimages to hope for better times for the Church, against which and against its head a bitter war was now waged. He was convinced that the same proofs of devotion and loyalty which were so constantly rendered to Pius IX. would be also manifested towards himself. He, for his part, would never cease to return his most cordial love and affection to those who thus boldly laboured in behalf of the Catholic religion. He recommended them to persevere in their works of charity and faith, and especially to promote good education among Catholic children, to fit them for contending against the evils of the age. He prayed for the conversion and reformation of the foes of the Church. He then pronounced the solemn benediction.

At 6 p.m. on the 23rd, his Excellency Bedros Effendi Kujumgian had farewell audience of his Holiness, and left Rome the same evening.

The Earl of Denbigh and Mr. Kenyon had a private audience on Thursday, the 23rd, and in this interview, which lasted for forty minutes, Lord Denbigh presented his Holiness with a beautifully bound copy of the late Mr. Urquhart’s essay on the restoration of public law among nations. The late Mr. Urquhart was a Protestant, but considered the Pope to be the arbiter of all international disputes. Leo XIII. was much interested in this dissertation. Lord Denbigh, on this occasion, obtained a special blessing from the Pope for the members of the Catholic Union and of the Poor School Committee of England. Mr. Kenyon obtained a similar favour for the members of the League of St. Sebastian.

His Eminence Cardinal Cullen, who had spent a few days at Albano, returned to Rome on the 22nd of May, and on the 24th had a private audience with his Holiness, to whom he presented a richly-bound and beautifully illuminated address from the Convent of Loreto, near Dublin. This address was signed by Lady Power of Edermine and by Father Barron, S.J., the Spiritual Director of the Convent.

The German pilgrims:  Mass was celebrated on Sunday, May 19th, for  the German pilgrims in the church of Sta Maria dell’ Anima, by Archbishop de Neckere, and a sermon was preached by Canon Zehrt, of Paderborn. Cardinals Hohenlohe, De Luca, and Franzelin were present.

The Consecration of Cardinal Borromeo:  The archpriest of St. Peter’s, his Eminence Cardinal Borromeo, was consecrated to the archbishopric of Adana in partibus infidelium on Sunday, the 19th of May, in the Sistine chapel, by his Holiness Leo XIII., assisted by Archbishop Sanminiatelli, his private almoner, and Bishop Marinelli, the sacristan of the Vatican. The function began at 8:30a.m., and terminated a little before 11 a.m. Admission to the Sistine was by ticket of invitation. The Princess of Thurn and Taxis, with her children, were in the royal tribune, and the Ottoman Envoy, Bedros Effendi Kujumjian, and his son, Ohannes Bey, were in the seats set apart for diplomatists. Cardinals Sacconi, Randi, Chigi, and Franchi were present. The Earls of Denbigh and Gainsborough, Lady Edith Noel, Mr. Kenyon, Mr. Hartwell Grissell, and many of the English deputation were invited to the ceremony. After the functions were concluded the Holy Father proceeded to the private library, where tables were laid for refreshments for the distinguished visitors. At one of these tables his Holiness sat, having on one side Cardinal Borromeo, and on the other the Princess of Thurn and Taxis. At this table the other Cardinals who had attended the consecration were seated. Cardinal Borromeo wore on his breast a splendid pectoral cross of gold, adorned with rubies, diamonds, and emeralds, the gift of the Holy Father.

Sant’Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona, Rome

Marriage of Prince Colonna:  On Monday, the Prince of Avella, Don Fabrizio Colonna, and Donna Olympia, sister of Prince Doria, were married in the church of St. Agnes in Piazza Navona, by his Eminence Cardinal di Pietro, Dean of the Sacred College and Camerlengo. Monsignor Cataldi officiated as Master of Ceremonies. Prince Alessandro Torlonia and the Duke of Marino acted as witnesses for the bridegroom, and Prince Marcantonio Borghese and Prince Don Alphonso Doria were the bride’s witnesses.

Among those present were Prince Giovanni Andrea Colonna, Prince Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, the father of the bridegroom ; Prince Orsini, Prince Assistant at the Throne ; Princess Orsini, Princess Borghese, Prince and Princess di Fondi, Princess Pallavicini, the Duchess of Marino, Duke and Duchess Sforza-Cesarini, Duke and Duchess of Ceri, the Marchesa Sacchetti, Duchess of Rignano, Count and Countess Somaglia, &c., &c. The bride and bridegroom drove to the church in the state carriages of their respective families, and after the solemnisation of the marriage went, according to custom, to the Basilica of St. Peter’s to venerate the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. The newly-married pair went to the Villa Doria at Albano, and after a few days spent there, left for the Colonna Villa at Capodimonte.

San Clemente, Rome

San.Clemente: The following persons lately paid visits to the Church of S. Clemente and were conducted through the subterranean churches by the Very Rev. Father Joseph Mulloolly, the Prior :—Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Genoa, her Royal Highness the Princess of Thurn and Taxis, with her son Prince Max Albert and her daughter Princess Louise. The Earl of Portarlington, Sir Augustus Paget, and Count Corte, the Italian Foreign Minister, were among the recent visitors to this interesting church.

Spanish Pilgrims: A number of Catholic pilgrims from Spain arrived in Rome on the 22nd of May, and will be received in audience on Monday, the 27th.

The Late Count Oreste Macchi:  On the evening of the 20th of May the mortal remains of the late Count Oreste Macchi were deposited at Campo Verano, in the vault of the Venerable the Archconfraternity of the Most Precious Blood. The brethren of the Archconfraternity attended the funeral and carried the coffin on their shoulders, reciting psalms and prayers for the repose of the soul of the defunct. Mgr. Luigi Macchi, Maestro di Camera to Leo XIII., the son of the deceased Count, attended the funeral.

The New Bishop of Dunkeld: Dr. George Rigg, Bishop of Dunkeld, in Scotland, was consecrated on the 26th of May by his Eminence Cardinal Howard, in the Church of the Scotch College. The assisting prelates were Mgr. Walter Steins, S.J., Archbishop of Busra, in partibus infidelium, and Vicar-Apostolic of Western Bengal, and Mgr. Giovanni Jacovacci, Bishop of Eritrea,in partibus infidelium, and Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Esame dei Vescovi. Mgr. Cataldi, Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, acted as Principal Master of Ceremonies, while Mgr. Luigi Sinistri, also a Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the Bishop-Elect. Among the persons present at the consecration were Mgr. Van der Branden, Private Chamberlain to his Holiness; Mgrs. Weld, Stonor, Milella, Kirby, domestic prelates to Leo XIII. ; the Father-General of the Redemptorists, with Fathers Douglas and Morgan ; the General of the Dominicans and Father Mullooly, Prior of S. Clemente ; Very Rev. Dr. James Maher ; Very Rev. John Egan, Vice-Rector of the Irish College; the Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College • Very Rev. Dr. O’Bryen ; Canon Walsh.; U.S. ; the Very Rev. Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the North American College ; Father Costello ; Mrs. Savile Foljambe, Mrs. Kinloch Grant, the Misses Sperling, Miss Isabel Fane, Miss Senior, Mrs. Vansittart, the Misses Gorman, Mr. and Mrs. Handley, Mrs. Hall, the Misses Steele, Mrs.Martin, Miss Whelan, Mr. William Palmer, Messrs.English and Youngman, Commendatore Winchester, Mr.Douglas Hope, Mr. Hartwell Grissell, Mr. Bliss, Mr. Justice O’Byrne, the Very Rev. Father Keogh, Prior of Sta. Maria in Posterula ; Mrs. Posi, Miss Lewis, &c. After the ceremony the Cardinal and the invited guests were conducted to an apartment in the College, where refreshments were served. Cardinal Howard entertained subsequently to dinner, at his palace, the new Bishop, the assisting prelates, and Cardinals Franchi and Bartolini.

Feast of S. Giro in Portici:  The Italian Government has not yet forbidden processions through the streets (at least in Southern Italy) as the Government has done in France, where in Marseilles the Archbishop has been unable to procure permission for the time-honoured processions, though he made a journey to Paris with that intent. In Southern Italy all the rejoicings of the lower classes are so interwoven with religion that a procession of the effigy of the patron saint, accompanied by his relics, forms, as a matter of course, the opening of the Festa ; and even in Naples itself the procession of S. Gennaro retains all its ancient splendour. At Portici, which lies at the very foot of Vesuvius, S. Giro is the patron. He was a native of Alexandria, a doctor by profession, who became a hermit, and was martyred in A.D. 288, in a city called Canopo. After the conversion of the Emperor Constantine his relics were brought to his native city, and were placed in the church of St. Mark. In the time of Pope Celestine I., by order of the Emperor Theodosius, they were brought to Rome, and were venerated in the Church of Santa Prassede. Many centuries elapsed, and the relics, which had attracted but little attention, became an object of special devotion to a great saint, S. Francesco Girolamo, who was inspired by Divine Providence with an extraordinary devotion to S. Giro. At the death of this saint, which occurred in 1716, this devotion bore fruit, and the relics he had procured for Portici were held in high esteem. In 1763, a famine occurred, when Ferdinand IV. was Regent. In the following year food was so dear that the state of suffering became very great, and a plague followed the famine. Then the inhabitants invoked the intercession of S. Giro, doctor of the body as well as of the soul, and innumerable cures were wrought. In 1770, mindful of these favours, a famous artist, Ferdinando Sperandeo, was charged with the task of making a noble statue of S. Giro, and there is a beautiful legend that, while he was thinking how he could best fashion the countenance, the Saint himself appeared to him, and that celestial vision enabled him to produce the statue which was carried in procession last Sunday. It is of beaten silver, and exceeds life-size. The hands, feet, and face, are enamelled in natural colours. The face is truly noble, ascetic, and benign, and the attitude is dignified. In his left hand he holds a crucifix, to which he points with his right. The cranium of the Saint is in an antique reliquary fixed to the pedestal. Here and there along the line of the procession a carpet of flowers had been made with much taste and skill. The procession opened with the band of the town in bright unforms. Then followed the Confraternity called by the Saint’s name, in habits of white merino, with red silk capes, and here and there were carried handsome gold embroidered banners. Next came the Guild of the Immaculate Conception, similarly costumed, only that the capes were blue silk, and all wore large silver badges. The music of the township of St. George (the men dressed in very handsome uniforms and plumes) and that of S. Giovanni Teduccio enlivened the scene. Four thuribles, with incense, were waved before the statue, which was carried under a white and gold satin canopy. As this went past, immense quantities of rose leaves were thrown from the windows of the houses. Crowds of poor people followed, who were reciting a Litany in the Saint’s honour in thanksgiving for favours received through his intercession. In the church of S. Giro is a votive altar of very costly marble, erected in 1778, with an inscription formally declaring him the patron of the town. The devout crowd, the music, flowers, and gay procession, all bathed in a southern sunshine, made a very striking and edifying scene.

The above text was found on p.15, 1st June 1878, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Rome, May, 1879

Castel Sant’ Angelo


Rome, May 10, 1879.

The Vatican:  On Monday, May 5, a large number of visitors, Roman and foreign, were received at the Vatican. On the evening of the 6th, private audience was given to Monsignor David, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc, who presented to the Holy Father a large sum of money as Peter’s Pence from his diocese. The Bishop of Saint-Brieuc had the honour of introducing to the Holy Father his Vicar-General, Father Juventon, and four other priests who accompanied him. On the 7th (Wednesday) the Pope gave permission to twenty-three young workmen from Paris to attend his private Mass, at 7 a.m., and to receive Holy Communion from the hands of his Holiness. After the Mass, Leo XIII. received in private audience these young men, who were introduced by Comte de Boursetty, and conversed with each of them for some time, inquiring the particulars concerning their mode of life, their respective .trades, their wages and hours of labour. He accompanied them through part of the Pontifical galleries, gave them permission to visit the Vatican gardens, and presented each of them with a valuable memorial of their visit. On the 11th there was another large reception of strangers. On the same day Cavaliere Enrico Angelini had private audience of his Holiness and presented to him a large offering of Peter’s Pence, in name of Monsignor Tommaso Baron, Bishop of Chilasca, in Mexico.

In the evening, at half-past seven, the Pope entered the Basilica of St. Peter’s by the private passage, and remained in prayer before the tombs of the Apostles and the Altar of the Sacrament, for a considerable time. He was accompanied by the private Chamberlains on duty and by a few officials of the Vatican. The gates of the Basilica were of course closed.

Mass at the Quirinal:  It is stated that the Pope has granted permission for Mass to be said in the Quirinal. This is not quite correct. The interdict has not been removed from the palace of the Quirinal. But there is a building near the palace proper, called the Palazzina, which was restored and enlarged by Victor Emmanuel. Canon Anzino, chaplain to the Royal Family, presented a petition stating that Queen Margarita was greatly inconvenienced by crowds of supplicants when attending Mass at the Sudario, and pointing out that after the attempt at Naples and the more recent Garibaldian agitations there might be some peril to the Queen and her son in attending mass in the Sudario or in the passage to and from the Quirinal. Licence was consequently given to Canon Anzino to celebrate Mass in a chapel erected in the Palazzina for the benefit of Queen Margarita and the persons whom she might invite to attend.

Palazzo Quirinale, Rome

The Pensions to the Suppressed Orders: The pittances paid to the members of the suppressed Religious Orders by way of pensions in compensation for the loss of their homes and revenues are very small, and are moreover very irregularly paid. The Minor Conventuals in Mussomeli, Sicily, were paid on the 4th of May, the arrears which ought to have been paid to them in March. The local paymaster was in vain applied to by the Friars for payment of their pensions, and the Friars telegraphed to the Minister of Finance in Rome and to King Humbert, before they could obtain redress.

Cardinal Newman

Cardinal Newman:  After his audience with the Pope on Sunday the 27th of April, Dr. Newman scarcely left his apartments, being troubled with a severe cold and cough. Dr. Aitken was called in to see him, and at one time some anxiety was felt as to the condition of the illustrious Oratorian. However, no apprehension is now entertained, and it is believed certain that Cardinal Newman will be able to attend the consistory on the 15th to receive the hat.

The Advocates of St. Peter:  His Holiness Leo XIII. has been pleased to signify that he will receive the members of the Society of Advocates of St. Peter in audience on the 29th of June, the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. This Society counts many members in England, and includes the Duke of Norfolk, the Marquises of Ripon and Bute, besides all the English bishops. The President, Count Agnelli dei Malherbi, has issued notice of the audience on the 29th of June, and it is expected several foreign members of rank will come to Rome for the occasion.

Dr. Woodlock: The Right Rev. Dr. Woodlock, bishop-elect of Ardagh, will be consecrated by the Pope himself to that see on Whitsunday next.

May 12.

Conversions:  On Sunday, May 11, Mr. and Mrs. Cassell, who had been a few days previously received into the Church by Monsignor Capel, were admitted to the Pope’s private Mass in the Vatican, and received their first communion from the hands of his Holiness. At this celebration were Mrs. Handley, who acted as godmother to Mrs. Cassell, Mrs. Pereira, and a few other persons. After the Mass Leo XIII. admitted Mr. and Mrs. Cassell, with Mrs. Handley, to private audience, and conversed with them for some time. Monsignor Macchi, the Maestro di Camera, presented the new converts with beautiful rosaries.

Peter’s Pence From Ireland:  At a recent audience Monsignor Kirby presented to the Holy Father the sum of £163 from the Bishop, clergy, and faithful of the diocese of Achonry in Ireland. Leo XIII. sent his special blessing to the donors.

Consecrations By The Pope:  On Whitsunday next the Pope will consecrate Cardinal Pitra for the bishopric of Frascati ; Monsignor Latoni, Auditor of his Holiness, for the bishopric of Senigaglia ; and Dr. Woodlock, for the bishopric of Ardagh in Ireland.

The above text was found on p.17,17th May 1879 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Requiem Mass For Cardinal Cullen. Rome 7th December 1878

According to the Irish Times Weekend Review (September 2011) : ” Cardinal Paul Cullen was the towering figure of modern Irish Catholicism and arguably the most important figure in modern Irish history between the death of Daniel O’Connell and the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell. “ Rev. H. O’Bryen, D.D. is well settled into Roman life, having stopped being a parish priest in Lancashire five years earlier at the age of thirty eight, and moved to Rome. It’s another three years before he becomes a papal chaplain.


Sant’Agata dei Goti, Rome.
Requiem Mass In The Irish College, Rome, For The Repose Of The Soul Of The Late Cardinal Cullen.

On Thursday, Nov. 28, all the English and Irish residents in Rome met in the church of St. Agatha, the church of the Irish College, to assist at the Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of the lamented Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. The interior of the ancient Church of St. Agatha was beautifully decorated with black and gold hangings and a magnificent catafalque was erected in the centre of the nave, on the summit of which rested on a cushion the Cardinalitial hat. At either side of the catafalque were arranged seats for those invited to the ceremony, the choir being occupied by the students. Over the outer gates of the Church was affixed the following inscription in large letters :—

Paulo Cullen

Sanctae Ecclesiae Romanae

Presbytero Cardinali tit. S. Petri in Janiculo

Archiepiscopo Dublinensi

Hibernia Primati

Apostolicae Sedis libertatis Adsertori

Ecclesiae Catholicae Magistro Custodi et Vindici

Piis operibus instituendis et amplificandis

Cura, consilio, strenue dum vixit intento

Religionis cultu pietatis amore posteris memorando

Litteris scientiis domi forisque clarissimo

Collegium Hibernorum

Suo olim moderatori solertissimo

Justa funebria.

The Mass was pontificated in presence of the Right Rev. Monsignor Kirby, Domestic Chaplain to His Holiness and Rector of the College, by the Right Rev. Dr. O’Mahony, Bishop of Armidale, the assistant priest being the Very Rev. John Egan, Vice-Rector of the College. The Rev. Thomas Bourke was Deacon and the Rev. E. Mackey, Sub-Deacon, and the Masters of Ceremonies were the Rev. Michael O’Donnell and the Rev. W. Burke. The Mass was by Cacciolini, an ancient and celebrated Roman Master, and was well rendered by the choir of the College, assisted by gentlemen from the Vatican and Lateran choirs. The conductor was Signor Don Fausti, Musical Director to the Irish College. I may add that the church was warmed by a new apparatus recently erected by Monsignor Kirby.

Among those present and occupying seats around the catafalque were the Bishop of Beverley, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Bishop of Rochester, U.S., the Bishop of Portland, U.S., the Archbishop of Seleucia, the Hon. and Right Rev. Edmund Stonor, Domestic Prelate to his Holiness ; Mgr. Angelo Jacobini, Assessor of the Holy Office ; Mgr. Rinaldini, Canon of St. John Lateran ; Mgr. William H. Manning, Mgr. Paolo Fortini, the Very Rev. Dr. Bernard Smith, O.S.B., Professor at the Propaganda; Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College ; Very Rev. Dr. J. Campbell, Rector of the Scots’ College ; Very Rev. Dr. Hostlot, Rector of the American College, and the Vice-Rector, Rev. — Wall ; Very Rev. Joseph Mulloolly, Prior of St. Clement’s ; Very Rev. Father Kehoe, Prior of Sta. Maria in Posterula ; Rev. Dr. English, College of Noble Ecclesiastics ; Very Rev. Father Dunne, Guardian of S. Isidore’s ; Very Rev. Stanislas White, Secretary to the Abbot of the Cistercian Order in Rome ; Very Rev. Father Douglas and Father H. Morgan, of the Redemptorists; Very Rev. Dr. Quin ; Mgr. Mogliazzi, Chaplain to his Holiness ; Rev. H. O’Bryen, D.D. ; Rev. Father Doyle, Carmelite ; Rev. P. Cuddihy, Milford, Mass., U.S. ; Rev. J. Higgins, Rev. W. F. Higgins, Rev. J. Keane; Messrs. Grace and Maxwell, of the Christian Brothers, &c., &c. The members of the various ecclesiastical colleges in Rome were present, including those of the English, Scots, American, Propaganda, Apollinare, Capronica, and the Dominican, Franciscan, and Augustinian Colleges, the Avvocato Carlo Sagnori, and Professor Borghi, Musical Director at the Propaganda College.

Seats were reserved in the Coretto, for his Eminence Cardinal di Pietro, Dean of the Sacred College ; his Eminence Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Propaganda ; and his Eminence Cardinal de Falloux du Coudray, Titular of St. Agatha’s.

Among those in the body of the church were Miss Sherlock, the Baron Hoffmann, Mrs. Vansittart, the Donna Maria di Braganza ; the Marquis De Stacpoole and his sister ; Mrs. Steele (daughter of Lady Louisa Trench) ; Rev. Thomas Hamilton, R.N., Dr. De la Roche, Count Raymond, Cavaliere Franchi, the Misses Steele, Mrs. W. Maziere Brady, Miss Coles, Commendatore Winchester, Private Chamberlain di Spada e Cappa to Leo XIII. ; Mr. John Grainger, Honorary Chamberlain to Leo XIII. ; Mr. and Mrs. Millen, Mr. Haas, Mr. and Mrs. F. Montague Handley, Miss Gorman, Miss Johns, Miss Whalley, Mr. J. Higgins, Mr. Connelian (Boston Pilot). Mr. Blake (late Chairman of the Fishery Commissioners), Mr. John Hogan (son of the celebrated sculptor), Miss Whelan, Cavaliere Silenzi, &c., &c.

The sermon was preached, after the conclusion of the Mass, by Monsignor Anivitti, Private Chamberlain partecipante to Leo XIII. Monsignor Anivitti is one of the most noted pulpit orators in Rome, and his oration on O’Connell, delivered in the Irish College on the occasion of the O’Connell Centenary, was published both in Italian and English.

Monsignor Anivitti began his discourse with the words : In copulatione sanctorum Patriarchatum admitteris, and these words, which were addressed to the youthful son of the aged Tobias, formed not only the commencement but also served as the key note of the preacher’s eulogy upon Cardinal Cullen, whose supreme merit consisted in being worthy to be reckoned among the Patriarchs of Christianity, that is to say among the men whose services to their holy cause were greatest. Individualising his merit, Paul Cullen was compared to Malachy, the friend of S. Bernard, and to St. Patrick, the first apostle of Ireland, who, in his visions, might have saluted his successor, under whose rule, after the lapse of centuries of misfortune, the ancient faith of Ireland again resumed its brilliant lustre and shone forth in triumph.

The orator then laid down the principle that Christian nations possess an immortal life. He quoted Wisdom (Chapter I.) where it is written that God made the nations of the earth for health, and argued that so long as nations adhere to the true God and to His true Church they carry in their bosoms the principle of their lasting continuance and also of their recovery from their afflictions and evils. This truth was illustrated by the case of Ireland which, after three centuries of persecution and combat with heresy, one might have expected to see crushed for ever. Instead of this, behold two great men are given to her, and that in the same century which for other nations was so unfortunate, and these two are O’Connell the Emancipator, and Paul Cullen, who was, as it were, her Patriarch. Their missions certainly were different. The mission of the one was politico-religious : that of the other was religious and anti-political, for it was carried on in spite of the false politics which opposed its progress. If O’Connell could avail himself of religion to serve his politics, Cullen could not avail himself of politics to serve his proper mission, for he was obliged always to stand on his guard, even when collecting and developing the fruits of the victories of O’Connell, lest he should seem, as is the accusation to-day brought against us, to wish to pursue political, under the pre-text of religious ends. But the particulars of Cullen’s life demonstrate the wisdom and the uncommon virtue with which he addressed himself to his great task which was Catholic and National, and tended to the edification of the Universal Church.’

A rapid sketch was then given of Paul Cullen’s personal history, his birth in Kildare county, his education in Dublin to the age of 16 years, his residence at the Propaganda in Rome, his studies under Perrone, his admission to the priesthood, an d his celebrated public deputation, which to this day is remembered with admiration by Leo XIII., who was himself present at it, being at the time a member of the Roman prelature, of which be was even then a brilliant ornament. Cullen’s career as Vice-Rector and Rector of the Irish College, and as Rector of the Propaganda College, were noticed. He was the honoured and trusted agent of the Irish Bishops, and in this capacity’ acquired an intimate knowledge of all Irish affairs, as well as the confidence and esteem of the Irish Episcopate. While he was Rector in the Propaganda College he displayed consummate prudence in saving the property of the College from spoliation and the students from dispersion by boldly appealing to the United States Minister for protection from the Republicans who then, namely, in 1849, were masters of Rome. In 1850 Cullen was made Archbishop of Armagh, in 1852 Arch-bishop of Dublin, and in 1866 Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church.

Humility and mildness accompanied Cullen in his elevation to his high office, and in his episcopal career he gained to him-self the love of the people of Ireland and the cordial affection of the Irish Bishops. He studied the welfare of the clergy. He reformed some small ritual abuses. He sustained the rights of the Catholics of Ireland to Catholic education, and founded, by means of general collections, the Catholic University, in order to keep Catholic youths from frequenting the famous ” Queen’s Colleges,” where the secular instruction was separated from religious, and rendered in effect “godless.” He appealed to the English Government in behalf of liberty for Catholic teaching. He found time amidst his labours to promote piety and learning, and built no less than 36 churches. Proofs of his zeal remain in the numerous institutions he established, such as Holy Cross College, Clonliffe ; St. Brigid’s Orphanage, St. Vincent de Paul’s Male and Female Orphanages and Convent Refuge, the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Cabra ; the Reading-rooms for the Blind in Marlbro’-street ; the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Eccles-street; St. Joseph’s Night Refuge, &c., &c. He invited to his diocese the Redemptorists, the Passionists, and the Marists. Thus he displayed the true spirit of the Gospel in endeavouring to secure the spiritual and temporal welfare of his flock by institutions calculated to relieve physical distress and poverty, and to mitigate the evils inevitable to society.

The central motive of all Cardinal Cullen’s apostolic work was in heaven, in the Divine Heart of Jesus, through devotion to which he became the good priest and the good Bishop. He had the happiness to consecrate his entire diocese to the Sacred Heart, as was done also throughout Christendom by other Bishops in 1875. Contemplation and prayer were the means whereby Cullen derived the inspiration from the Sacred Heart and filled his mind with divine consolation and aid. But on earth was his second source of inspiration, and this was in Rome, Christian and Papal. He was emphatically the champion of the Pope and of the Holy See. Witness his Pastorals, which were read throughout the Catholic world, and which breathed the spirit of union with Rome. And how closely he caught the spirit of the Roman Church is proved also by some twenty authentic epistles which he received from the Holy See on various occasions in recognition and confirmation of his holy work. He was distinguished more particularly for his courageous vindication of the temporalities and civil rights of the Holy See. He denounced the sacrilegious spoliation of the Pope and the Roman Church, asserted the claims of the Supreme Pontiff to complete liberty and independence, and endeavoured to repair the losses occasioned by the usurpation of the States of the Church by the Peter’s Pence apostolate. Three persons in all the Catholic world were foremost in this apostolate, and these three were Margotti in Italy, Dupanloup in France, and Cullen in Ireland.

But Cardinal Cullen, who rejoiced in efforts to assist the Holy See in its perils, who was so humble in his loving devotion to the Supreme Head of the Church, was denied the pleasure of beholding even the dawn of happier days or the restoration of independence to the Papacy. H e died without seeing the realisa-tion of his hopes. But he died like a model Bishop and like a Patriarch of the ancient type. He died like a St. John Chrysostom or a St. Martin of Tours, with his eyes fixed on heaven. In harness to the last, working up to the final moment, he calmly, like an ancient saint, expired as it were upon the cross, signing himself with the crucifix and blessing his spiritual children as the Patriarchs blessed their families, on whom the hopes of humanity depended. His funeral pomp was rather a triumph than a ceremony of the dead. One hundred thousand persons of all classes in society moved in orderly procession, which comprised 28 Irish Bishops and Boo priests from various dioceses, the whole cortége appearing more like a scene from the eternal Jerusalem than a mortuary solemnity. It was only grief for his loss that reminded the spectators that they were assisting at a function which was not one of festivity.

Here, in this College, and in this assemblage, his venerated remains are not present, but if they were, exclaimed the orator, turning himself towards the catafalque, who among us would not be glad to kiss his hands, to touch his feet, his lips, or his mantle, in token of love or admiration? And yet he is present with us—spirit to spirit ! He is present in prayer and in affection, present in the esteem entertained for his work, present in his example and in the fruits of his labour, and in his imperishable memory. May God grant that on a future day we may rejoin him in the assembly of the Patriarchs, and that we may be found worthy to share in his celestial reward, as on earth we have been privileged to have had him as our companion and as our guide in apostolic virtues.

Upon the conclusion of this discourse, which occupied over an hour in delivery, his Eminence Cardinal Simeoni, who sat during the sermon on a seat in front of the altar, proceeded to give the solemn absolutions. The voice of his Eminence betrayed the deep emotion which he felt in performing this last function for a brother Cardinal, with whom he had been so long and so affectionately associated.

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)       Rome, November 30, 1878.

The above text was found on p.17, 7th December 1878 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .


Rome 2nd February 1878

1878 was a busy year in Rome. Vittorio Emmanuele II died on the 9th January. The Pope died five days after this was published, on 7 February 1878 at 5:40 pm, of epilepsy, which led to a seizure and a sudden heart attack, while saying the rosary with his staff.  Pius IX was the longest serving Pope ever, and the last pope who held temporal powers, although Lazio, and Rome itself were absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. Meanwhile, the still at this point, Rev. Dr Henry O’Bryen seems to be settled in splendidly, having stopped being a parish priest in Lancashire five years earlier at the age of thirty eight, and moved to Rome.  He doesn’t become a papal chaplain until 1881. But he is already preaching at S. Andrea  della Fratte, which he continued to do for the next seventeen years.

Rome from our own correspondent Rome Jan 27th 1878

Reports were current in Rome on Thursday the 24th of  January that Pius IX had been suddenly taken ill and was at the point of death. For these reports there was absolutely no foundation. His Holiness all through the week held his usual audiences lying on the couch in his private library. On Monday he blessed the two lambs whose wool is intended for the palliums. On that day  he received many Cardinals and prelates, and on the following day some laymen of distinction were admitted to special audience in the library. Cardinals Manning and Howard were among the visitors this week to the Vatican. On Thursday a distinguished person, who had an interview with his Holiness for half an hour, found the Pope considerably improved in health and spirits. The wounds in the legs are healing up naturally, new flesh growing in a wonderful manner. The Holy Father was unusually cheerful, and expressed a hope to be able to leave his bed in a month or so when the severe weather shall have disappeared.

GARIBALDI:  It is known that General Garibaldi wrote a letter  of congratulation to King Humbert on his accession to the throne. It was not published, because Garibaldi, at the close of his letter, advised his Majesty to dismiss all his “reprobate Ministers.”

Umberto I

KING HUMBERT I. :  On the 19th of January the new King took the oath to observe the Constitution before the senators and deputies assembled in the Parliament House in Montecitorio. On the same occasion the senators and deputies swore allegiance to the King. The Queen, the young Prince of Naples, and all the Royal visitors and envoys, were present in the diplomatic box, or gallery, where seats were arranged for the ladies. The Archduke Renier, the Prince Imperial of Germany, the heir to the Portuguese throne, and the Queen of Portugal were all close to Queen Margherita. The young Portuguese Prince, a pretty boy of fourteen years, was much admired. But the Prince Imperial of Germany, with his broad shoulders, was the prominent figure, and had the post of honour near the two Queens. The new King made a speech, which was much applauded, but which did not contain a single word in reference to God or the Church, nor did it ask, directly or indirectly, the blessing of Heaven. Perhaps Humbert I., who separates himself by the numeral I. from his ancestor Humbert III., the Blessed, was conscious that any appeal to Divine Providence would be out of place in the declarations of a monarch who succeeds to the usurped patrimony of the Church. King Humbert, rightly or wrongly, is believed to be less religious than his father. Signor Mancini, the present Minister of Grace and Justice, was once his teacher in international and criminal jurisprudence, and from Signor Mancini it is not likely that much reverence for the Catholic religion could be learned by the young Prince. So far as can be inferred from recent events, King Humbert willrely on the army and on the German alliance to support his throne against all Republican attacks. To keep Germany on his side he must obey the behests of Prince Bismarck, and he must adopt a policy of antagonism towards the Holy See more pronounced and severe than that adopted by his father. In this anti-Catholic policy Signor Mancini will be his willing guide.

Cardinal Manning


CARDINAL MANNING:  His Eminence Cardinal Manning has lately  occupied much attention on the part of the Italian  press.  Fanjulla devoted to him a long article denouncing him for his want of respect to the memory of Victor Emmanuel, and particularly for refusing a high Mass to be sung for his late Majesty. Of course, it is well known in London that Cardinal Manning granted permission for the High Mass, although he hesitated and required additional in-formation concerning the intentions of the applicants. Other Italian newspapers claim Cardinal Manning as their friend and champion, and gravely assert that his Eminence alone among the Cardinals encourages the Holy Father to condone the loss of the temporal power, and come to terms of amity with the revolution ! He is said also to urge the selection of Malta for the next Conclave, and to have raised the resentment of all the Italian Cardinals against him. In all these statements there is not one syllable of truth.



OUTRAGES AGAINST THE CLERGY:  In various cities of Italy the revolutionists have  taken the opportunity of the King’s death to insult  the Bishops and clergy who do not at once comply  with the demands of political partisans. For instance, two members of the municipality of Piacenza waited on the Bishop of that city, and asked the use of the Cathedral for a funeral service for the late King. The Bishop replied that he could not himself pontificate, but would grant the use of the cathedral provided the laws of the Church were observed. He suggested the use of the Church of S. Francesco in Piazza, as more central and better adapted for the occasion than the Cathedral. He desired them to report his remarks to the municipal council, and to return the next day to arrange everything. The members of the municipality, however, misrepresented the words of the Bishop as an absolute refusal of the Cathedral, and inserted a statement to that effect in a local journal. The consequence was a riotous assemblage of roughs, who mobbed the Bishop, broke into his residence, and filled the town with tumult. The military had to be called out to quell the disorder. At Viterbo, Bologna, Venice, and other places, the clergy have been insulted and attacked by mobs of revolutionists. At Parma the Bishop was assailed the citizens were compelled to close their shops as a sign of mourning, and a tricolour flag was hoisted over the episcopal residence.

MILAN: At the funeral service in Milan Cathedral, on the 24th, in honour of the late King, the crush was so great that five persons were killed, and many others were injured, and had to be carried to hospitals.

PERE RATISBONNE:  On Sunday, the 20th, the Church of S. Andrea  della Fratte was magnificently decorated with red  satin damask bordered with gold, and an infinity of lights for the anniversary of the miraculous event in the life of Pere Ratisbonne, who, on the 20th of January, 1842, was there converted from Judaism by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin. Masses were said during the morning, and at five p.m. Cardinal Franchi gave solemn Benediction. Padre Giovanni, who possesses perhaps the finest tenor voice at present known, sang; and there was hardly standing room in the church. On Wednesday, the 23rd, the Rev. Dr. O’Bryen preached a sermon on the conversion of Pere Ratisbonne to a crowded audience in the same church. [ Alphonse Ratisbonne who was Jewish, converted to the Church, became a Jesuit, and went on to found the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Sion, on of whose founding aim was the conversion of the Jews.]

APOTHEOSIS OF VICTOR EMMANUEL:  An amusing cartoon has appeared representing  the late King rising heavily heavenwards—his  well-known features appearing above the white sheet that envelopes his body. In the clouds is seen the Piedmontese Walhalla ” The Superga,” and out of it are issuing the deceased members of the house of Savoy. This cartoon has been considered sufficiently curious for the Bodleian library, to which a copy has been sent.

THE CLERGY HISSED:  It appears, unhappily, certain that the small party of clergy who surrounded the Crucifix in the procession of the King’s funeral were hissed. People who saw the procession at different points all assert the same.

Palazzo del Quirinale


OVATION AT THE QUIRINAL:  On the return of the King from the Chambers  on Saturday, the 19th, there was a great burst of  cheering on the part of the crowd assembled in  the Piazza del Quirinale; the King, the Queen, their Royal visitors, and the little Prince of Naples all appeared on the balcony—the Prince Imperial of Germany, taking the little Prince of Naples in his arms, held him up, to the great delight of the crowd, and then kissed him.



A PROPHECY: An astrologer of the Apennines, named Barbanera, in whom the Romans have great faith, made a lucky guess this year in his prophetic almanack. He says, ” On January 11th a great catafalque will be erected in Rome !” He also says, ” another will be required on February 10th.”  [ I rather like the slightly sneering tone of this, being written before the Pope’s death as obviously ridiculous, and the astrologer being almost spot-on. But given that the Pope was eighty six, it’s not a bad guess.]

THE LATE KING’S DEBTS:  The late King, it is stated, unified his large debts some two years ago, and borrowed of a bank  at Turin 15,000,000 lire, of which 7,000,000 have been paid. King Humbert takes this debt on himself, and will not burden the country with it.

ROYAL ECONOMY:  It would appear that economy is to be studied a little by the new King ; 1,000 horses are to be sold at once out of the Royal stables, and the estate also at Castel Porziano. The Royal stables, built at an enormous cost by the late King, are one of the sights of the city, on account of their vast size and completeness in every respect. It is said that, all told, 2,000 persons are employed in them.

SACRILEGES IN ROME:  During the great concourse of strangers into Rome for the late King’s funeral no less than three churches were broken into, and the tabernacles were robbed of the sacred vessels, the consecrated hosts being strewn about.

FEB. 2, 1878:  The anniversary of the First Communion of the  Holy Father, February 2nd, will be the 75th anniversary of the Holy Father’s first Communion, made at Sinigaglia, his native city. The Cardinal Vicar of Rome invites all the faithful, and especially the young, to make a Communion on that day. There will be a grand function at the Gesù.

MONUMENT TO VICTOR EMMANUEL:   The proposed monument to Victor Emmanuel  has set all the painters, architects, sculptors, and  engineers to work, and many designs are already exhibited ; they all bear evidence of the haste with which they have been drawn, and nothing at all remarkable has been produced. They talk much of a grand façade to Sta Maria degli Angeli ; and that the hemicycle in front should become a colonnade, crowned by the statues of the statesmen and others connected with the unification of Italy, the new street, the Via Nazionale, to be entered under a grand triumphal arch.

THE REQUIEM FOR KING VICTOR EMMANUEL.—On the 9th of February a funeral service will be celebrated in the Pantheon for the repose of the soul of the late King Victor Emmanuel.

The above text was found on p.16, 2nd February 1878, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

Rome – 5th January 1878

1878 was a busy year in Rome. Vittorio Emmanuele II died on the 9th January. A month later the Pope died; Pius IX was the longest serving Pope ever, and the last pope who held temporal powers, though Lazio, and Rome itself were absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. Meanwhile  Mgr Henry O’Bryen seems to be settled in splendidly, having stopped being a parish priest in Lancashire five years earlier at the age of thirty eight, and moved to Rome. He’s certainly in grand company at the dinner at the English College, with two Cardinals, and Archbishop Eyre, the first post-Reformation Archbishop of Glasgow, who was also Henry’s sister’s godmother’s nephew. [ His sister Cecilia (1846 -1856) ]

Mgr HH O’Bryen

The following all comes from The Tablet on 5th January.

Rome, Dec. 31, 1877.

THE HOLY FATHER:  The health of the Pope improved perceptibly  during last week. On Sunday he was  moved for a few hours to the private library, a room separated from the Pope’s bedroom. only by a passage, which serves as his dining-room. His Holiness does not use the spring couch, or chair, procured from Paris by Cardinal de Falloux, but continues in bed, supported in a sitting posture by a contrivance which enables him to sit up without feeling fatigue. Cardinal Manning attended the audience on Sunday and other days this week. Cardinals Bartolini and Randi have recovered sufficiently to enable them to visit his Holiness, and to be present at the audiences which, since the 23rd, have been daily held in the private library. On Christmas Day the Pope received visits from the Cardinal Vicar, many Cardinals, and from some of the great officers of the Court, including Marquis Serlupi, General Kanzler, &c., &c.

On the 27th, the name day of his Holiness, the audience was attended by Cardinals Manning, Howard, De Pietro, Caterini, Consolini, Giannelli, Sacconi, Pecci, Pacca, Ferrieri, D’Avanzo, Franchi, Guidi, Franzelin, Hohenlohe, Bilio, Bonaparte, and De Falloux, as also by the Senator of Rome, Marchese Cavalletti ; Prince Ruspoli, the Bishop of Clifton, and others.

THE CONSISTORY:  On the 28th a Consistory was held by his Holiness in person. The Consistorial Hall was not used. The Throne Room, the throne being removed, was arranged with chairs for the Cardinals, who assembled at half-past 10 a.m. to the number of thirty-five, or thereabouts. All the Cardinals now in Rome attended, except their Eminences Amat, Asquini, and Brossais Saint Marc, who were unable to be present owing to illness (the Cardinal of Rennes will, it is hoped, be able to attend the next Consistory on Monday, the 31st). Mgrs. Martinucci and Cataldi, the Pontifical Masters of Ceremonies, attended, and the latter read the Acts of Consistory and conducted the ceremonies. At a given signal the Cardinals left the Throne Room and proceeded to the Pope’s private library, where the Consistory proper was held. His Holiness spoke in a clear voice a few words, not a formal allocution, as follows ” Venerable Brothers,—Your presence here to-day in such numbers gives Us an opportunity which We gladly seize to re-turn to you and to each of you Our most sincere thanks for the kind offices you have shown to Us in this time of Our illness. We thank God that We have found you Our most faithful helpers in bearing Our burden of the Apostolic ministry; and your virtue and constant affection have contributed to lessen the bitterness of Our many sufferings. But while We rejoice in your affection and zeal we cannot forget that we need daily more and more your co-operation and that of all Our brethren and of all the faithful, to attain the immediate aid of God for the many pressing necessities of Us and of the Church. Therefore We urgently exhort you, and especially those of you who exercise the episcopal ministry in your respective dioceses, as well as all the pastors who preside over the Lord’s flock throughout the entire Catholic world, to implore the Divine Clemency and cause prayers to be offered to God that he may give • Us, amidst the affliction of Our body, strength of mind to wage vigorously the conflict which has to be endured, to regard mercifully the labours and wrongs of the Church, to forgive Us all Our sins, and for the glory of His Name to grant the gift of good-will and the fruits of that peace which the angelic choirs announced to man-kind at the birth of the Saviour.”

The following appointments to churches were then made:-

  • Archbishopric of Nazianzum, in partibus infidelium, Monsignor Angelo di Pietro, translated from Nissa in partibus. (To be sent as Delegate-Apostolic to the Republics of Paraguay, Chili, and Bolivia, and the Argentine Republic.
  • Archbishopric of Chieti, with Vasto in administration, Mgr. Luigi Ruffo de’ Principi di Scilla, born in Palermo.
  • Bishopric of Fano, Rev. Camillo Santori, Rector and Pro-fessor of Dogmatic Theology in the Roman Pontifical Seminary, Sub-Secretary of Vatican Council, &c.
  • Bishopric of Tricarico, Rev. Camillo Sicilian de Marchesi di Rende, formerly a parish priest in the diocese of Westminster, &c., &c.
  • Bishopric of Nice, Rev. Father Matthew Victor Balain, Oblate of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate, Rector of the Seminary of Frejus, &c., &c.
  • Bishopric of Pella in partibus, Rev. Gustavus Leonard di Battice, President of the Ghent Seminary, &c., &c., deputed co-adjutor, with succession, to the Bishop of Ghent.

His Holiness then created Mgr. Vincenzo Moretti (born in Orvieto November 14, 1815), Archbishop of Ravenna, to be a Cardinal Priest ; and Mgr. Antonio dei Conti Pellegrini (born in Rome August 11, 1812), Clerk of the Apostolical Chamber, to be a Cardinal Deacon. (They receive the titles respectively of Santa Sabina and Santa Maria in Aquiro.)

The pallium was then demanded for two archiepiscopal sees, those of Baltimore, the first see in the United States and of Chieti. Baltimore has the precedence of Chieti, but as Mgr. Ruffo Scilla, the new Archbishop of Chieti, appeared in person, he took precedence in postulating of Dr. D. J. O’Connell, the Procurator of Archbishop James Gibbons, the American Primate.

On Sunday Cardinal Caterini, the Dean of the Cardinal Deacons, in his private chapel in the Palazzo Mattei, imposed the pallium on the shoulders of the new Archbishop of Chieti, and on the shoulders of the Procurator (Dr. D. J. O’Connell) of Archbishop Gibbons, of Baltimore, the oaths of fidelity being first administered to the recipients of the pallium. Mgr. Cataldi officiated as Pontifical Master of Ceremonies.

Triduums have been celebrated in the three great Basilicas and in other churches in Rome, to pray for the complete restoration of the health of the Holy Father.

Dr. Chatard will be appointed Bishop of Richmond, Virginia, at an early meeting of the Propaganda, and will accept that see unless his Holiness should express a desire to retain his services in Rome. If Dr. Chatard becomes Bishop of Richmond, Dr. Hostlot, the present esteemed Vice-Rector, will be made Rector of the North American College in Rome, vice Mgr. Chatard.


PROTESTANT CHURCH IN ROME: The Free Italian church on the Piazza Ponte S.  Angelo (which is rarely open) was, however,  lighted up a few evenings ago ; and an Englishman might be seen preaching in English, with an Italian interpreting. In front of the pulpit was a table, with bread and wine on it, for the purpose of celebrating an English Dissenting communion. Every evening the Piazza is filled with the soldiers from the neighbouring barracks, who stand about talking and smoking in a very innocent manner until the “retreat “ at 7 p.m. calls them in. The parody of divine worship going on seemed to afford them much amusement, for they kept passing in and out through the little building, dignified by the name of a church, and wondering what it all meant. Apparently the Catholic religion has little to fear front the very feeble attacks of the Protestant sects. The Waldensian sects advertise a ” Christmas tree “ as one of the attractions of their chapel.

PIAZZA NAVONA: Quite a little fair is going on in the Piazza Navona, where may be purchased very prettily-constructed grottos, and all the figures that adorn a ” Presepio,” or representation of the Nativity. The three Magi, the shepherds, the sheep and cattle, and all the accessories are really very cleverly executed.

THE SECOND CONSISTORY; His Holiness held another Consistory this morning in his private library, sitting, as on the previous occasion, in a bed made for him in Rome under the direction of Doctor Ceccarelli, and gave the hats, with the customary formalities, to Cardinals Regnier, Manning, Brossais Saint Marc, Moretti, and Pellegrini. The Pope’s voice was clear and strong. His Holiness seems to be gathering strength, and bore the fatigue of the ceremonial well. Several noblemen and gentlemen were admitted to this Consistory. Several Bishops were nominated, amongst others Dr. Fitzgerald to the See of Ross, Ireland.

DIOCESE OF WATERFORD.—Monsignor Kirby has presented his Holiness with the sum of £1,700 from the Bishop (Dr. Power), the clergy, and faithful of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore.

THE ENGLISH COLLEGE.—Dr. O’Callaghan entertained at dinner on the 30th, at the English College, Cardinal Manning, Cardinal Howard, Protector of the College, Archbishop Eyre, the Bishop of Clifton, Monsignor Stonor, Mgr. Cataldi, Monsignor Kirby, Dr. Grant, Dr. Hostlot, Dr. O’Bryen, Mr. Ward, Mr. Winchester, &c., &c.

The above text was found on p.17,5th January 1878, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .


The Julian Watts-Russell monument, Rome, April 1894

San Tommaso Canterbury, Via di Monserrato, Roma,

I stumbled across this recently, and it is one of those nice curiosities that happen from time to time. The initial interest was sparked by the fact that two of the contributors to the monument are Mgr O’Bryen, and the then Rev. Manuel Bidwell.  Almost thirty years later Manuel, by then the rather grand sounding Bishop of Miletopolis, married the O’Bryen great-grandparents [his first cousin (once removed) and Uncle Henry’s nephew.]

The two churchmen were at either end of their church careers, and at least a generation apart in age.  Henry was fifty nine at the time, having spent almost twenty years as a papal diplomat, and would be dead eighteen months later. Manuel was only twenty two, and had just started studying in Rome at the French Seminary, and the Academy of Noble Ecclesiastics, having already gained a B.Sc. in Paris, and then studied Applied Science, at King’s College, London.  He was ordained in Rome four years later in 1898, where the assistant priest at his first mass was Mgr, and later Cardinal, Merry del Val.

So the initial spark was the curiosity of a great great uncle, and a first cousin three times removed both having been connected together, but the more one looks at the list of donors to the memorial, the grander they become, and the more it shines alight at the still glittering peaks at the top of the church. I’ll come back to that in another post. But for now, a simple explanation of who Julian Watts-Russell was.

He was a Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867. The Papal Zouaves  were an infantry force formed for the defence of the Papal States in 1860. The battle of Mentana was “the last victory of the Church in arms,”  [ a interesting choice of words from the Tablet in 1967]  three years before the capture of Rome by the Italian army ending eleven hundred years of temporal papal rule. Julian Watts-Russell aged seventeen, was the youngest casualty of the battle,  “one who may be called the last of the English martyrs” [ The Tablet 1894]


The monument is now finished, with the  exception of the Mentana medal-cross, and will be placed in the English College Church  during the coming week. By a singular coincidence, Captain Shee has recently come to Rome. He is a hero of Mentana, and received nine wounds in 1870, and is one of those who buried the body of Julian Watts-Russell after his death, and exhumed it when brought to Rome. In connection with present events, it may be well to record the inscription on Julian’s tomb in the Campo Verano :











The above text was found on p.17, 7th April 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

” The Julian Watts-Russell monument is now completed. The expenses have been defrayed  by the contributions of the following persons,  chiefly members of the English-speaking colony in Rome : His Grace the Archbishop of Trebizond [the Hon. and Rt. Rev. Mgr. Stonor,],  Monsignori Merry del Val, Stanley, Giles, and O’Bryen ; the Very Rev. Joseph Bannin, S.M., the Rev. John L. Prior, D.D. (Vice-Rector of the English College), the Rev. Michael Watts-Russell, C.P. ; the Rev. G. Phillips and the Rev. Dr. Preston, of Ushaw College ; the Rev. C. R. Lindsay, the Rev. Manuel Bidwell, the Rev. Students of the English College, Alderman Sir Stuart Knill, Mr. E. Granville Ward, Miss Watts-Russell, Mr. C. W. Worlledge, Dr. J. J. Eyre, Mr. C. Spedding, Mr. C. Astor Bristead, and Mr. W. Cagger.

The Mentana monument, which has been already described, has been erected upon a base of white Carrara marble and surmounted with a Mentana medal-cross in exact imitation of that which it replaces. The whole has been placed in the Church of St. Thomas, in the corner of the Gospel side of the altar, near the memorial slabs of distinguished modern English Catholics buried in the church. The inscription on the base succinctly recalls the history of the monument:


The letters of the original inscription, which were badly damaged, have been restored and made legible even from a distance. The restoration of the monument has cost 300 francs, and it is proposed to apply the remainder of the money contributed to restoring his grave.”

The above text was found on p.17, 12th May 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .



The monument is now finished, with the  exception of the Mentana medal-cross, and will be placed in the English College Church  during the coming week. By a singular coincidence, Captain Shee has recently come to Rome. He is a hero of Mentana, and received nine wounds in 1870, and is one of those who buried the body of Julian Watts-Russell after his death, and exhumed it when brought to Rome. In connection with present events, it may be well to record the inscription on Julian’s tomb in the Campo Verano :











The above text was found on p.17, 7th April 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .



St Isidore's RomeThe Church of St. Isidore, the church of  the Irish Franciscans, was crowded on the  17th of March by a fashionable congregation of English-speaking visitors and residents assembled to hear High Mass and a sermon in honour of St. Patrick. The High Mass was pontificated by Mgr. Grasselli, Archbishop of Colosse in fiartibus, and the music was that of Palestrina, sung by the members of the Scuola Gregoriana. The sermon was preached by the Very Rev. Mgr.O’Bryen, lately nominated a Cameriere Segreto to his Holiness, and was listened to with marked attention. It, the sermon, was partly historical and political, and was a defence of the present position of Irish Catholics at home and abroad.

The above text was found on p.29, 26th March 1881 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

The Papal Jubilee – Rome 1893

As with most of the Roman posts this one is included a. because it’s fun, and b. because  Uncle Henry  –  Mgr HH O’Bryen was there.




our lady of victories 1The Irish pilgrims to Rome had anticipated our day of departure. Therefore it is that I must take up the thread of our combined Roman chronicle after our own arrival in Rome. We met then, English and Scottish pilgrims, some five hundred strong, at the Pro-Cathedral, Kensington, on Monday night, February 13. The Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh delivered an address on the object of our journey, and the fitting spirit in which we should go, and Benediction concluded this opening ceremonial. On the following morning, at II a.m., we began our journey from Victoria, two special trains containing the pilgrims travelling in succession the one to the other. Of our crossing the Channel I need say no more than that we were compelled to endure considerable mortifications ; it was very rough, and the special boat was crowded to repletion ; nevertheless the pilgrim train arrived in Paris not more than two hours late. The Gare du Nord, immediately after our arrival, was thrown into unexampled confusion. Nobody was able to find, much less identify, his luggage, and the French officials were perfectly apathetic to our distressful condition. After much struggling, however, and perspiring exertion, we reached our several destinations in Paris safely.

crown of thorns parisOn the following morning we assembled in strong force at Notre Dame, where, after Mass and the distribution of ashes, the great relic preserved in the Cathedral (the Crown of Thorns of Our Lord) was, by special favour, offered for the veneration of the pilgrims. The reliquary is in the form of a cross, about two feet long, and a circular case in the centre contains the precious relic.

At 11.45 we left Paris, and dinner was served at Dijon. Here in truth we learned a sorrowful necessity of patience. There was a rapid raid made on the Buffet, which, in effect, nearly developed in a free fight. By the vigilance of the Committee, however, all disastrous effects were avoided ; we consumed a certain quantity of food, and were quickly back in our train making preparation for the night journey. This was accomplished without mishap, and the morning sun rose as we travelled down—down—from the bleak hills into the most gracious levels of Italy. We went with the sweep of a wind from this bleakness into this hospitality ; and enjoyment was once more a visitor to our souls when we reached Modane, and were compelled to endure another scene of turmoil by reason of the enforced examination of our lesser baggage. Steadily keeping unpunctual by the two hours to the bad which had marked our arrival at Paris, we reached Genoa at half-past five, and left the train to take some rest within sight of the curving Mediterranean, and the lean sloping hills of Italy. Rain greeted us in the morning, and it was in a deluge that we left Genoa at halfpast eight ; but the weather quickly cleared up, and, by the time we had arrived at Pisa, with its extremely modern looking station, the sun was shining.

Duke of Norfolk c.1908
Duke of Norfolk c.1908

Some of us took the opportunity of an hour’s delay at this town to take a hasty glance at the famous leaning tower, but the effect of this curiosity was to retard still more the heavily laden train, which arrived at half-past eleven, three hours after the appointed time. I may add in passing that, owing to the lateness of the hour, no luggage could be obtained that night. We were met by quite a crowd of the English colony, and by a deputation of the Circolo di San Pietro accompanied by the Vice-President of the General Pilgrimage Committee in Italy ; while the Rector of the Scots College and many of the students, with their purple cassocks and black ferraiouli, were present to welcome the Scottish pilgrims. On the arrival of the train, a deputation was presented to the Duke of Norfolk, who returned formal thanks for the attention.


Irish College, Rome

Meanwhile it is now necessary for me to return to the Irish Pilgrims who arrived on the Tuesday, and to chronicle their doings, as I have them by hearsay, down to our own arrival in the Eternal City. The Irish pilgrims, then, arrived on Tuesday night, and were met at the station by the Rector of the Irish College and by a deputation of the Circolo di San Pietro. On the following morning they all assembled in the chapel of the Irish College to assist at the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Logue, who also distributed the ashes to them, the, pilgrims singing together several parts of the Mass. At the end of it they sang the hymn, “God bless the Pope,” and then “Faith of Our Fathers.” Dr. Kelly, the Rector, while his Eminence was unrobing after Mass, delivered a little discourse, describing the chapel and its antiquarian interest. He also drew the attention of the pilgrims to the beautiful monument erected there to the memory of O’Connell, which encloses his heart. He recalled O’Connell’s words on his death-bed, when he said that he gave his soul to heaven, his body to Ireland, and his heart to Rome.

The pilgrims then assisted at the unveiling of a commemorative slab to the memory of Cardinal Cullen. The slab is on the wall of the first landing of the big staircase leading inside the College. The Cardinal, surrounded by pilgrims, had just taken his seat opposite the slab, and the ceremony was about to begin, when the venerable figure of Archbishop Kirby, the late Rector, who for many years had held that post, appeared through the crowd of pilgrims. He is indeed just recovering from rather a bad illness ; yet in spite of his being ninety years of age he determined to make the exertion of appearing amongst the pilgrims and welcoming them to Rome. The pilgrims received him with hearty cheers. The Rev. P. Maguire recited an ode in the Irish language, dedicated to the Cardinal, who in reply delivered a few pleased and appreciative words. On the Thursday morning, the day before our arrival, the Irish pilgrims assisted at Mass in the Church of San Clemente, after which Father Hickey, Prior of the Irish Dominicans, showed the pilgrims over the celebrated underground Church of San Clemente, which, being the first basilica dedicated to this saint, was discovered and excavated in 1857 by the late Father Mullooley.

santa-maria-della-pace-1024x676On the same afternoon Cardinal Logue took possession of his titular Church of Santa Maria della Pace. The pilgrims were all assembled in the church by four o’clock. At a quarter after the hour, his Eminence entered the church, accompanied by the procession, and took his seat on the throne erected in the sanctuary on the gospel side of the altar. The different Bishops that have come with the pilgrims were seated in reserved seats immediately before the sanctuary. There were also present several Italian Bishops, and the Rectors and Priors of the different Irish communities in Rome. The Cardinal was assisted by the Rector of the Irish College and by Mgr. O’Bryen, while Mgr. Cocci acted as master of ceremonies. Mgr. Pericoli, the Apostolic Notary, read the Pontifical Bull conferring the church, and the Rector of the church, after the reading of the Bull, delivered a speech congratulating the Cardinal on the occasion. The Cardinal returned thanks, and stepping from the throne, addressed the pilgrims from the sanctuary rails, giving, in fact, an interesting account of the Church assigned to him by the Pope. A Te Deum closed the ceremony, and the same evening the Cardinal gave a reception of the pilgrims in the Halls of the Arcadia. Cardinal Vaughan, Cardinal Macchi, Archbishop Stonor, the Bishops of Clifton and Emmaus, the Austrian Ambassador, and many distinguished personages were present. The reception was, I am assured, a brilliant success.


Borghese chapel Santa Maria Maggiore
Borghese chapel Santa Maria Maggiore

I return now to our own fortunes. We all assembled on Saturday morning in the Borghese Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore, having wended our way to the great church from all the points of the compass. My own way led me, with several others, past the Palazzo Barberini, and the Quattro Fontane, by the Via Nazionale. Climbing the great exterior steps, then, and entering the church, we met, as I have said, in the Borghese Chapel. The altar was for the time, occupied by a Neapolitan Bishop ; but after he had finished Mass, the Bishop of Clifton began to vest, and Mass began shortly after ten o’clock. The picture of the famous Madonna, said to have been painted by St. Luke, was exposed to view, and kneeling in front of the sanctuary was our Cardinal, in purple, with scarlet zucchetto.

During the Mass the Litany of Loretto and “Hail Queen of Heaven” were sung, and I cannot easily describe the devotional effect of those five hundred English voices uplifted and echoing among these springing Italian arches, and amid this gay and florid decoration. I think that even Mr. Francis Whitgreave, Jun., might have been persuaded, for the moment, into the tolerance of this noble and most unsinning architecture, and for the moment have overlooked the immoral sins of commission which have been heaped upon these poor stones. At the end of Mass Cardinal Vaughan delivered a short discourse upon the relics which this Church contains, and afterwards accompanied the pilgrims upon a visit to the crypt.

When this ceremony was concluded, we all repaired to the Hotel de Rome, the head-quarters of the Pilgrimage, to receive our tickets for the great function on the following day. We received injunctions to be at St. Peter’s, if possible, by five o’clock on the following morning, on account of the crush that was expected. Personally, having some little knowledge of the ways of Roman functions, I suspected my ticket ; and, observing that it had no encouragement endorsed upon it for any entrance to a tribune, only serving (as I supposed) for the body of the Church, I made subsequent effort to exchange it for a tribune ticket. This, by a stroke of good fortune, I was enabled to effect.


I am told that pilgrims began to gather round the Facciata of the great Cathedral as early as three o’clock in the morning, and that cafes and restaurants were up betimes with their fires lit in busy provision of breakfasts. I started with my tribune ticket for the Apse at half-past six, and having resolved to avoid crossing the Tiber by the temporary iron bridge near St. Angelo, which the Romans in satire call the Gabbthne (huge cage), over which the new tram lines run, I drove a long but clear round across the new Ponte Margherita and through the Prati di Castello quarter, and so effected an entrance into the Piazza of St. Peter’s at the Colonnade of Constantine. St.PetersSq

Here lines of Italian soldiers were drawn across the middle of the vast space, and further progress was only granted to those who were in the possession of tickets, whether for the tribunes near the high altar, or for standing room in the nave The doors had been opened at 6.30, and I learn that much disappointment was expressed by many of the Irish and English pilgrims on the discovery, for the first time, that no special places had been reserved in the Basilica for them. “It caused,” writes one, whose letter I have permission to quote, “a certain amount of dissatisfaction amongst the pilgrims who, having undergone all the fatigues of the long journey for the special purpose of attending this Mass, considered themselves entitled to rather more consideration than they received on this occasion. Nevertheless we resigned ourselves to standing in the seething crowd for some three hours, a resignation which the splendid function that followed amply justified.”

st-peters-arnolfo-di-cambioThe Irish pilgrims, I should here remark, marched into the Basilica four abreast, displaying great spirit, bearing a banner aloft, and carrying all before them. Father Ring acted as Captain of the Irish forces. Most of these were stationed near the statue of St. Peter, which had been arranged for the Jubilee in the pontifical robes, and wore a tiara and ring—a ritual usually restricted to the Feast of St. Peter in June. The pilasters of the great nave and the dome were draped, as usual, with rich crimson brocade, bordered with gold lace, not tinsel or fine copper wire, as some contemptuously suppose, but real gold-woven work. By seven o’clock the tribunes in the apse were filled with various ladies and gentlemen, together with many religious, priests, and sisters—the English Nuns, founded by Lady Georgiana Fullerton (the Servants of the Mother of God), and the Nottingham Sisters (the Little Company of Mary), with their blue lined veils, the ladies of the Sacre Coeur, and others.

St Peters Basilica

The High Altar was illuminated with many tall wax lights and immense bouquets of natural flowers were massed between the Altar and the “Confession.” In the long three hours before the function began—appointed for nine, it was delayed till a quarter to ten—the tribunes gradually filled chiefly with members of the Roman aristocracy and of the Diplomatic Corps. Some of the uniforms were gorgeous, and some curiosity was aroused by the appearance of three German Catholic students arrayed in black velvet braided jackets, white leather breeches, and long boots ; they carried large black velvet caps with white feathers, and silk scarves of the Papal and German colours, white and yellow, black and white intermingled. Down the great Church the view was most impressive. The heads of the crowd were packed together from altar to great door, and it is calculated that from sixty to eighty thousand people were gathered in the building. The black lace veils worn by the women set against the black and white of the men’s evening dress contrasted with the gay red and yellow of the Swiss guards, with their halberds and baggy knickerbockers, and again with the white and blue of the Guardia Nobile. Two men, I have been credibly informed, overcome by the crush had to be lifted insensible over the palisade in the centre of the nave and carried to one of the five ambulances prepared in various parts of the Church for emergencies of the kind. From where I sat, in one of the Apse tribunes, the 150 choristers perched aloft in the Dome seemed like black and white dolls moving about in the vague spaces of the giant cupola.


At last, after long waiting, a thrill of emotion swept through the dense crowds, for the Pope had descended from his apartments, and knelt at prayer in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament ; he was not yet to be seen, for the right nave was screened by heavy crimson damask curtains down to the Chapel of the Pieta, where all the Canons of St. Peter’s, with the Cardinal Archpriest Ricci Paracciani,, received his Holiness. Here he was robed in the white and gold chasuble presented by the Roman ladies for his Sacerdotal Jubilee, and the precious mitre offered on the present occasion by his Noble Guards. The Holy Father wore also the great white fala’a, reserved exclusively for the Sovereign Pontiff, clasped with jewels, and the train held by the two Monsignori, who are his camerieri partecipanti.

GestatorialChair1The tiara was placed on his head, and when the Pontiff was seated in the sedia gestatoria, the procession up the great nave slowly began ; and the silver trumpets sounded from the Loggia of the Beatifications above the great central door of St. Peter’s. The Pontifical choir led the way, singing Tu es Petrus, but their voices had scarcely broken into the air when a great burst of cheering went up from the immense concourse of people. It was like the roar of the sea breaking on a strand. The enthusiasm was unbounded, and deafening cries of “Viva il Papa Re,” “Viva il Vicario di Cristo,” arose as the seated figure of the Pontiff, leaning gently from side to side in benediction of his flock, was borne up the nave. The progress to the High Altar, the enthusiasm ever growing greater and greater, till at length that vast congregation seemed almost beside itself with emotion.


Calm was only restored when Leo XIII. stood before the altar of the Confession to begin the Holy Sacrifice. He said a Low Mass, and was assisted by the two Archbishops of the Chapter of St. Peter’s, Monsignori Tamminiatelli and Cassetta, his Auditor, Mgr. Fausti, and the Sacristan, Mgr. Pifferi. During Mass the choir of the Sixtine Chapel, led by their old Maestro, Mustafa, sang the Jubilate Deo. Every eye was fixed upon the venerable white old man absorbed in prayer, who celebrated with the same touching reverence and humility as if in his own private chapel. There was a solemn hush through the whole multitude, and many were moved to tears at the moment of the elevation, when the cool liquid strains of the silver trumpets streamed through the building, and the choir chanted the chorus by Mustafa, Domine Salvum fac, re-echoed by the fresh young voices in the cupola.

Mass being ended, the Holy Father recited the usual prayers and thanksgiving; then for a few minutes he retired to a pavilion under the choir to partake of some slight refreshment, having, of course, fasted from the preceding evening. Meantime, the choir sang the prayer of the Holy Father, Sancte Michael, &c., to music composed by Mustafa. Then his Holiness returned to the foot of the altar, and the Pontifical robes, including the tiara, being again put on, the Te Deum was intoned and taken up by the choirs, and the responses joined in by thousands of voices in every part of the church. Although the Holy Father did not himself intone the great hymn, he joined with all the people in the responses, greatly to the distress of his attendants, who trembled lest the fatigue should overcome him. In fact, the great emotion did overcome His Holiness and he became quite faint for a few moments. But quickly rallying his strength Leo XIII. was again borne in the sedia gestatoria, in the same order of procession as before round the altar to the front of the Confession. Here His Holiness gave the Papal Benediction, standing up and reading it from the Pontificale Romanum held before him. The prayers and Indulgences are as follows : Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus, ipsi intercedant pro nobis ad Dominum. Precibus et meritis beatae Mariae semper Virginis, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Joannis Baptistae, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et omnium Sanctorum, misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis omnibus peccatis vestris, perducat vos Jesus Christus ad vitam aetemam. Amen. Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium verae et fructuosae poenitentiae, cor semper poenitens et emendationem vitae, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus, et finalem perseverantiam in bonis operibus, tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. Amen.

These prayers being read, the Sovereign Pontiff blessed all the people, making three times the sign of the Cross, and saying : ” Benedictio Dei omnipotent’s, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti descendat super vos, et maneat semper.” Then three solemn “Amens” were uttered, and Cardinals Mazzella and Verga promulgated the Plenary Indulgence attached to this solemn Papal Benediction. Another indescribable ovation greeted the Holy Father as he was carried down the centre of the nave and returned to the Chapel of the Pieta.


It was a considerable time before this great multitude could emerge from St. Peter’s. The exit seemed more difficult than the entrance, and standing on the steps, looking out through the pillars of the Great Colonnade, the whole Piazza appeared black with human beings, who, however, dispersed in the most orderly manner. Nothing, in a word, occurred to mar the splendour of that function, which was probably one of the finest of its kind ever seen.

Benediction was given in the afternoon by Cardinal Vaughan at the English Convent in the Via San Sebastianino, and his Eminence held a reception there afterwards. In the evening the city was illuminated. I must, in closing my letter, add that on Tuesday the Pope received the Irish pilgrims, headed by Cardinal Logue, in the Grand Hall of the Consistory. On this occasion Cardinal Logue read an address in which the pilgrims congratulated the Pope, and expressed their devotion to the Holy See.

Another address was read by the Bishop of Galway, thanking the Pope for having so honoured Ireland in raising its Primate to the rank of Cardinal, and expressing the devotion of the Irish people to the Supreme Pontiff. The address stated that during Jubilee week prayers were being said in Ireland for the Pope, and that more than 2,000 priests were saying Mass for him. The Pope, who, I am told, seemed exceedingly pleased during the reading of the speech, replied in Latin, and, having said a few words, said that he was suffering from a sore throat, which prevented him from speaking at any length. His Holiness then charged Mgr. Bisleti to continue the reading of the reply, which, like the address from the Irish Catholics, was of an essentially religious character.

The Pope, after expressing his satisfaction over seeing before him the faithful sons of St. Patrick, thanked the pilgrims for having organized in Ireland an Association comprising a million Catholics, who, being unable to come to Rome, combined themselves from afar with the pilgrimage by daily attendance at special Masses for the Sovereign Pontiff. His Holiness went on to refer to the traditional faith and piety of the Irish Catholics, whose devotion to the Holy See had always been the same in good and evil days. In conclusion, the Pope exhorted the pilgrims to persevere in their attachment to the Chair of St. Peter, and not to forget the saying of St. Patrick — Sicut Christiani ita et Romani sills. His Holiness then gave his hand to each person present to kiss the “Fisher’s Ring,” and dismissed the pilgrims after pronouncing the Benediction upon all Catholics, both present and absent.

I have to add that in the evening the Duke of Norfolk held a brilliant reception of pilgrims, both British and Irish, at the Hotel de Rome. The Duke of Norfolk wore the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ, and was assisted in the reception of his guests by his sisters, Lady Mary and Lady Margaret Howard. Amongst those present were the Earl of Gainsborough, and no fewer than fifteen Archbishops and Bishops, including the Archbishop of Edinburgh, the Archbishop of Trebizond, and the Bishops of Nottingham, Clifton, Southwark, Birmingham, and Aberdeen. The reception lasted from 9 o’clock until late. Of the Cardinal’s taking possession of his titular church you will receive an independent account.

Roma, Via del Corso

Meanwhile, it only remains to add that we are doing very well here, and know how to take care of ourselves. Last night I walked down the Corso, from the Piazza del Popolo to the Piazza Colonna, upon which shines the white glare of those Roman Whiteleys, Fratelli Bocconi. The street was indeed Italian, the sky with its stars and moon was Italian ; the skyline of the houses was Italian, despite all the changes which have in these past years sacrificed the picturesque in Italy. But the prevalent voice was the voice of England and Ireland. Above the din of the newsboys rushing out into the streets from the newspaper offices, calling with their inimitable emphasis upon the penultimate syllable—Fanfiella Opinione Din/to /—you heard the murmur of an English accent, or an Irish brogue.

Among the benches of the Caffe Greco Englishmen supped black coffee ; there were English greetings here and there, and little groups of Italians would gather silently to observe English meetings and laughter, and to listen without understanding to our pure native criticism. We lounged at our ease, and we too watched these Italian groups, some gay with the blue-gray cloaks of Italian officers, or strange by reason of an alien costume ; or a group of Bersaglieri would post past us as if their hearts were bursting for the enforced rapidity of their motion. Yet we felt perfectly at home ; for, as I have said, everywhere you heard the echo of English speech or recognized English faces. And our universal feeling was that we had all been singularly privileged to assist at a demonstration so imposing, so impressive and so devotional as that which took place on Sunday at St. Peter’s.

The above text was found on p.8, 25th February 1893  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

A snapshot of Rome in 1879

This give a nice picture of what was happening in Rome in February 1879. It is nine and a half years after the capture of Rome and the culmination of the Risorgimento.  February 7th 1879 was the first anniversary of the death of Pope Pius IX, and thirteen months since the death of Vittorio Emanuele II on January 9th 1878. The Rev. Dr. Henry O’Bryen had been in Rome for about six years, and appears to be curiously absent from things. But the following cutting explains his absence:  “REV. DR. O’BRYEN.—The Rev. Dr. Henry O’Bryen has left Rome for Nice for change of air after his recent serious indisposition. The Tablet Page 17, 15th March 1879″

Anyway back to Rome, on February 8th, 1879.


The Feast of the Purification of Our Lady,

The Consistorial Hall, Vatican

On Sunday the 2nd, LEO XIII., received the customary offerings of wax candles front the basilicas and the various religious orders. The ceremony was attended by many prelates and parochial clergymen, Knights of Malta, Chamberlains, &c., &c. In the evening his Holiness received in private audience Monsignor Ramadie, Archbishop of Albi in France, who presented a large offering of Peter’s Pence. On Monday, February 3rd, the Consistorial Hall was filled with an immense number of ladies and gentlemen. The Holy Father made his appearance in the Hall shortly after 11 o’clock, attended by Monsignor Macchi, Maestro di Camera, and by Monsignor Boccali and Monsignor Ciccolini, the Chamberlains Partecipanti in Waiting.

Among the foreign ladies received were the Countess Elizabeth de Perchestine, the Countesses Marie Louise de Biesme, Maria Collino Mariani, and Emilia Desberger.  Monsignor Kirby presented the Holy Father with the sum of £200 sterling, an offering from Patrick Power, Esq., of Halifax, U.S.

Lord George Paget, who was introduced by Monsignor Stonor, had audience of his Holiness. On the 5th of February private audience was given to the Rev. Luigi Della Valle, Director of the Pontifical Press of the Immaculate Conception at Modena, and to the Rev. Gaspare Olmi, Missionary Apostolic, who presented to the Pope several religious periodicals printed by their establishment, and also an offering of Peter’s Pence from the Direito Cattolico of Modena.


Santo Spirito

The Queen visited last week the San Spirito Hospital, of which Prince Paul Borghese, Prince of Sulmona, is Deputato Administratore, or acting manager. In this capacity the Prince accompanied Queen Margarita in her visit to the several wards. Her Majesty always addressed him as “Signor Deputato,” and never as Prince Paul Borghese. She gave a donation to the hospital funds, and the Prince sent a servant of the hospital to the Quirinal to write in the visitor’s book an entry, stating that the Deputato Administratore of the Hospital thanked her Majesty the Queen for the honour conferred on the hospital by her visit. The Prince himself has never been to the Quirinal since 1870.


Sistine Chapel

A Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Pius IX. was sung in the Sistine Chapel on the 7th. No tickets of admission were given but invitations to attend were sent to the Ambassadors and Ministers accredited to the Holy See, and to the Roman nobility, and to a few distinguished strangers. The royal tribune was unoccupied. The diplomatic benches and the seats reserved for the wives and daughters of Ambassadors and for the Roman ladies were filled. The members of the Pope’s household were all present, as well as numbers of Archbishops, Bishops and prelates and heads of Religious Orders.  Six Camerieri Segreti di Spada e Cappa were on duty, dressed in their court costume. Many other camerieri were present and wore their chains of office and decorations. Among these were Commendatore Winchester, Count de Raymond, Mr. Hartwell Grissell, Mr. Ogilvy Fairlie, Mr. John Grainger, &c., &c.

All the Cardinals resident in Rome attended,except one or two, such as Guidi and Simeoni, who were indisposed. The Dean of the Sacred College sang the Mass. The Pope assisted and gave the absolutions. The catafalque was very small and was covered by a plain pall of gold cloth without any chandeliers or standards for tapers around it. Leo XIII. entered the chapel about 11 a.m. and took his seat on the throne, having on his right hand a Cardinal Deacon and Prince Orsini, Prince Assistant, and on the other hand a Cardinal deacon and the Prefect of Pontifical Masters of Ceremonies. The Mass was by Palestrina. The Dies Ire was by Mustafa. [Domenico Mustafà, the Direttore Perpetuo of the Sistine Choir was a soprano castrato].  

DON279045 Cardinal Edward Howard (oil on canvas); by English School, (19th century); 143.5x105.4 cm; His Grace The Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle; English, out of copyright
Cardinal Edward Howard

The absolutions were by Casciolini. Among the English and Irish ecclesiastics present were Cardinal Howard, the Hon. Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton, and Bishop assistant at the throne ; Bishop O’Mahony, the Hon. and Right Rev. Mgr. Stonor, the Right Rev. Tobias Kirby, Rector of the Irish College ; and Monsignor de Stacpoole. Among the favoured occupants of the seats reserved for strangers were Lady Eyre and Mr. and Mrs. Scully. The Pope seemed in excellent health, and his clear, ringing voice was heard with distinctness in every part of the Sistine.


On Saturday, the 8th, the Requiem was sung for Pius IX. in the great Basilica of St. Peter’s. The police and soldiers in the Piazza were numerous, and order was well preserved. From 9 a.m. a constant stream of carriages poured over the bridge of St. Angelo, and by half-past ten a.m. the vast Basilica was three parts full. The crowd of worshippers kept surging and shifting, and I fancy some fifty thousand persons must have at one time been within the sacred edifice. A beautiful catafalque was erected between the confessional and the altar of the chair. The catafalque was simple and at the same time majestic, and consisted of an oblong structure built in four stages, gradually diminishing in pyramidal form. At the summit was a large triple crown in silver and gold. At each angle were five bronze candelabra in the form of fruit bearing palms, and containing a vast quantity of lights. On each stage of the catafalque were numbers of candles artistically arranged. The hangings were of black and cloth of gold.

St.Peters Sq
St. Peters Square

This catafalque presented a strong contrast to that which was erected in Sta. Maria degli Angeli for Victor Emmanuel’s requiem, and which was perhaps the most pagan in idea ever erected for a Christian funeral. The style chosen for the late King’s catafalque was Doric, the superstructure being raised on four imitation-granite columns, and having at the angles severely classical tripod lamps burning green flames (a custom borrowed from France, and never introduced into Rome until 1878 by the Italians). On the first stage of this heathenish catafalque was a piece of sculpture in white marble representing the wolf dead, and Romulus and Remus weeping. A meagre cross at the summit was the only Christian symbol.

In comparing the two funerals there was also a marked difference in the behaviour of the visitors. The State funerals of the late King were attended by well dressed persons, who took their place as in a theatre, talked with their neighbours and neither knelt nor said their prayers. The vast majority of those who on Saturday went to St. Peter’s went to pray for the repose of the soul of Pius IX. Rude persons there were, chiefly Protestants, who forced their way hither and thither, stared about, and consulted their Murray or Baedeker. But in spite of these tourists and idlers the devotion of the great multitude was fervent, and many eyes were moist with tears as the strains of the Requiem aternam, the Dies ire, and the Libera echoed through the nave. Cardinal Borromeo, Archpriest of the Basilica, sang the Mass, and hundreds of Bishops sat on benches at either side of the choir. There were no palchi and but few seats reserved for great personages other than those accommodated in the four tribunes round the confessional. But many nobles and church dignitaries stood unnoticed among the crowd, and many gentle ladies endured the fatigue of some two hours’ duration, in order to pay respect to the memory of the saintly Pontiff.


Sant Agata dei Goti, Roma

On Wednesday, the 5th of February, the Feast of St. Agatha, V. M., High Mass was celebrated in the Church of St. Agatha, the Church of the Irish College, with much solemnity. The Mass was sung by Monsignor de Stacpoole, in presence of his Eminence Cardinal. de Falloux, titular Cardinal of the Church. The Deacon and Sub-deacon were the Rev. Messrs. Hassan and McCarthy, and Mgr. Cataldi, Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, officiated as the Master of Ceremonies. The church was remarkably warm and was beautifully decorated. The esteemed Rector, Monsignor Kirby, Domestic Prelate to Leo XIII. ; Bishop O’Mahony, Mgr. Rinaldini, Archbishop Elect of Cyrene in fiartibus ; and the Very Rev. John Egan, the Vice-Rector, occupied seats in the choir. After Mass the Rector entertained at dinner his Eminence Cardinal Nina, Secretary of State ; his Eminence Cardinal de Falloux, the Hon. and Right Rev. Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton ; Right Rev. Bishop O’Mahony, Monsignor Agnozzi, Secretary to the Propaganda ; Monsignor de Stacpoole, Monsignor Cataldi, Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Rector of the English College ; Monsignor Hostlot, Rector of the American College ; Very Rev. Dr. Campbell, Rector of Scots’ College ; Very Rev. Dean Quinn, the Prior of St. Clement’s, the Guardian of St. Isidore’s, the Prior of Sta. Maria in Posterula, Monsignor Rinaldini, the Marquis de Stacpoole, Mr. Scott, Mr. Mahony, the Vice-Rector of Propaganda, Dr. Ryan, Signor Fausti, Father Keogh, Rev. Dr. Stonor, Father Hayes, &c., &c.


Before the invasion of Rome by the Italians on the 20th of September [1870,nine years before this was written], the city of Rome was prosperous and rich. The people fared well. Artisans artists, and traders, had good employment and made considerable gains. The poor were able to live and received help from the ample charity of the benevolent. Gold and silver coins were in daily currency. Numbers of wealthy foreigners resided in Rome and spent quantities of money. Taxes were light. The duties paid on articles of food were not oppressive. The rents of houses were low. There was no usury, nor any sign of famine, nor any extraordinary resort to the pawn office. Suicide was unknown. Rome was a fortunate city where people lived cheaply and happily.

But since 1870 Rome, as a city for resort of strangers, has completely changed. The prices of food, apartments, and of all articles necessary for comfort and luxury have advanced enormously. Fiscal exactions, duties and taxes, caused an extravagant increase in the rents of houses and lodgings, and in the cost of wine, meat, and vegetables. The wealthy Catholic and Protestant families of all nationalities ceased to reside in Rome, because the attractions of the former Roman society no longer existed. The Court of Victor Emmanuel had no charms for Catholics. The magnificent church ceremonies were suspended. The Roman princes closed their doors and either retired to their country seats or lived in their palaces in sadness, avoiding all amusements and giving no entertainments. Rome was filled with poor Italians, mostly clerks and officials unable, upon their beggarly stipends, to do more than support their families in a miserable way. The Government proceeded to impoverish the clergy and ruin the religious orders. Convents and church lands were sold, and taxes were multiplied and increased. Buildings of all kinds were erected and new streets were planned. The cost of this outlay fell on the citizens, and the municipal taxes became exorbitant. The pawn offices were filled with pledges. Suicides were of almost daily occurrence. Crimes of violence were multiplied, and the municipality, which before 1870 did not owe a shilling and had a large balance to its credit, was sunk in debt to the amount of 57 millions of francs.

Unfinished squares and streets now occupy the sites of once flourishing vineyards and gardens. Millions of francs were expended in doubtful improvements, and the Government still urges the authorities to squander further sums in useless fortifications and in street alterations which might well be let alone. Rome is about to become a bankrupt city like Florence. The report on the economical condition of Rome, lately published by the municipal committee, shows plainly the pitiable condition to which the finances of the capital of Italy have been brought under the guidance of the new rulers. That report was signed by three municipal councillors, of whom one, a tradesman, is a Roman, the other two being Italians who knew nothing of Rome before the breach of Porta Pia.

The Government is now forced to come to the aid of the beggared Corporation and to grant a pecuniary subsidy to enable the municipality to pay its way and to undertake further schemes in hope of making Rome a city worthy to contain the King and the Parliament. These schemes will fail. Rome has indeed obtained an immense increase of population since 1870 but consisting of a class of persons who are no advantage to it. The scum of Italy has flowed into the Tiber.

Freethinkers, blasphemers, and,infidels crowd the streets of the capital of Christianity. Adventurers and speculators prey upon the foolish. But the rich and the respectable shun the city wherein drunkenness, impiety, fraud and violence seem to have settled. The beautiful ceremonies of the Feast of the Purification in St. Peter’s were witnessed by extremely few of the many foreigners now in Rome, for the morning was rainy, and a very small amount of atmospheric discomfort is sufficient to check their zeal in sight seeing. There were, however, a considerable number of poor peasants from the Campagna, and many in very picturesque costumes. It is the custom on this Feast to present immense wax candles to the Holy Father—each of the great Basilicas send one, the Heads of the Religious Orders, &c., &c. When the candle comes from a church dedicated to a martyr, the ” fiocco ” or silk tassel which tops it is red with gold threads, in other cases of various colours. These candles are richly decorated with painted designs, inscriptions, &c., and are of great size.

The 3rd of February is dedicated to S. Biagio (or St. Blaize). On this day, in most of the churches, a priest is seen sitting ready to anoint the throats of all who present themselves, with oil from the lamps that burn before the relics of the Saint, as he is the Saint whose intercessions prevent, or cure, throat maladies ; the anointing with oil from the lamp burning before a Saint is a practice that dates from the first ages of the Church.


San Biagio degli Armeni

In the Church of St. Biagio, in the Via Giulia, a High Mass was celebrated according to the gorgeous ritual of the Armenians, who have a college adjoining. The rite was most imposing. There were six deacons and as many subdeacons, clad in ample red silk dalmatics, having much cloth of gold about them, and either silver or gold stoles crossing their left shoulders ; and two acolytes in similar garments, but with adornments of black and gold. These two acolytes carried the staves, on which are many little bells to announce the more solemn portion of the Mass. These and others, in all some twenty persons, in rich vestments, surrounded the venerable Bishop, who himself made a most imposing appearance, in his magnificent cope of Oriental cloth of gold, and his silver stole and jewelled mitre. Twice during the Mass curtains of white silk, with a pattern of flowers, were drawn across the sanctuary, veiling for the few most solemn moments the altar and its ministers, first at the Consecration, then again at the Communion. Twice also those who bore the bells passed round the altar ringing them. Much fragrant incense was burnt, and the Bishop blessed the faithful, not as in the Roman rite with his hand, but with his pectoral cross, which probably contained a fragment of the true Cross. The students accompanied the intoned prayers with a peculiar low chant, which was very harmonious, like an organ heard afar off. All the service told of an Oriental people to whom the many symbolical movements speak more eloquently than words. The church is an unpretending one, and is greatly in want of repair. There were no foreigners present, but the poor of the neighbourhood crowded in to witness the unaccustomed sight, and their respectful and devout demeanour was worthy of all praise. The Via Giulia was once the Corso of Rome ; the races were run from the Ponte Sisto to S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini ; it is now a comparatively deserted street.


The ancient hospice for aged priests, by the Ponte Sisto, called the Cento Preti because one hundred aged priests formed an asylum there, is half pulled down, and the handsome church has entirely disappeared to make an approach to the public garden, which is to be made out of land reclaimed from the river, when the embanking walls shall have been completed.


On Sunday, the 2nd inst., Peter’s Pence were collected at the doors of all the churches in Rome ; the result is said to have been 40,000 francs, or £ 600. Many who saw the collector standing with his bag, but saying nothing, were ignorant for what object the collection was being made ; it is probable that if more pains had been taken to let people know it was the Peter’s Pence collection many would have given who on last Sunday passed by without doing so. The returns from the churches in Italy have not yet arrived.

MONSIGNOR BOCCALI.—Monsignor Gabriele Boccali’ one of the four Camerieri Segreti Partecipanti to his Holiness, has been appointed a Canon of St. Peter’s.

A CENTENARIAN. —This week there died at the village of Skewsby, near Mahon, Yorkshire, a woman named Elizabeth Potter at the advanced age of 105 years. The deceased had gained a livelihood by taking out coals in a cart, and this laborious occupation she kept up until a short time before her death. She is reputed to have been always very hale, hearty and active.

A DWARF SOLDIER.—The smallest conscript in France is a young man named Chapeland, just drawn in the department of the Ain. He is little more than a metre (three feet three inches) in height, the stature of a boy seven or eight years of age. He drew one of the highest numbers in the canton, but otherwise would have been exempted from active service.

The above text was found onPage 17, 15th February 1879, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .