I never knew there would be so many Irish pubs in Rome. The last time I was in Europe, I discovered that almost every city on the continent of any decent size includes three requisite cuisine options beyond the local fare: an Irish pub, a Chinese restaurant, and a McDonald’s. But I read recently that there were nearly 100 Irish pubs in the greater Rome area, and I even encounter a group of American undergrads making their best effort to visit all of them today.
Thankfully, there’s one just across the park from the front gates, complete with Guinness on tap. Less thankfully, everyone in the Celio neighborhood decided it would be a good idea to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day there. So a contingent of us ventured over after our community night for a pint. One pint, only, mind you. Nevertheless, that was enough to induce an impromptu lesson in Irish dancing for some of my companions…
But, back to our community evening: these are, I may have said, one of the greatest aspects of formation in Rome, the opportunity to meet with curial officials and other church leaders on a weekly basis, celebrating the liturgy with them and hearing a little of their thoughts, their stories, and their insights.
Tonight we were pleased to welcome Monsignor William Millea, an American who works in the Secretariat of State, General Affairs Section. This is the section that might parallel white house staff, in the sense that they handle appointments to curial offices, translations and publication of official texts and speeches, etc. An additional duty Father Millea has had is serving as one of the masters of ceremonies for the pope, and can often be seen with the papal master of liturgical celebrations, Monsignor Marini, alongside the Holy Father. This was the case throughout the pope’s pastoral visit to the Unites States a couple years ago. (At which point, as the token American in the Vatican retinue, it was to Millea that Pope Benedict turned after the big Eucharist at Yankee Stadium: “That’s what the liturgy is supposed to be!”)
Like so many we have talked to, he came to Rome for a year, and then came back for more and never left. His love of Latin and things classical certainly helped land him in a position to do much of the translating and interactions with things American and Anglophone for the Secretariat.