An All Souls Day Visit to the Cemetery

This morning, after celebrating Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica (on the altar of St. Gregory the Great), I made my way to the Teutonic Cemetery, located within the Teutonic College. The Teutonic College is a residence for German-speaking priests studying and working in Rome. While it is located immediately next to St. Peter’s Basilica, it is technically outside the boundaries of Vatican City-State, as defined in the Lateran Accords of 1929. It and a few other buildings (such as the Paul VI Audience Hall, and the Holy Office) comprise a piece of property that enjoys extraterritorial status and functions as if it were part of Vatican City. A bit of trivia there for you.

So I went to the cemetery to pray for the dead, since there is a plenary indulgence, applicable to the souls in Purgatory, available once a day from November 1-8.

Anyway, here is a bird’s-eye view of the Teutonic College, with its courtyard-like cemetery. As seen from the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica:

Photo from the Vatican web site. The dome you see in the foreground is for one of the Basilica’s side chapels. The ugly modernist building in the background is the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall.

The cross in the center of the cemetery:

Lots of red votive candles left by those who went to pray.

An image of Our Lady of Sorrows on one of the tombs:

One of my favorite Marian titles.

This relief carving on a memorial plaque really grabbed my attention when I first saw it from the side!

Who are you looking at?

These angels are there to remind us of certain things; not because we become “angels” in heaven, because we do not!!!!! We will always be human beings. No human becomes an angel in heaven. Ever. Have I made myself clear? Anyhow, since angels are the messengers of God, these angels have messages for us concerning the dead over whose tombs they stand. The one on the left bears the message “Pray for his soul” (inscribed in Latin above the angel), and the one on the right is holding a scroll that says (in Latin) “May he rest in peace”:

We do not become angels in heaven.

Here is a memorial for a child who died at the tender age of 14 months. It has quite a poetic inscription on it in Italian, which I translate in the caption blurb below:

“You sleep the sleep of innocence, dear Peppina (a diminutive form of Josephina [Giuseppina], I think). The rotten world from which the goodness of God took you on 1 October 1878 was not worthy of you. Constantine and Clotilde Pucci placed this memorial to the apple of their eye. She lived 14 months on earth and (now) lives eternally blessed in heaven.”

Here is the very simple tomb, right in the pathway, of the famed Sister Pascalina Lehnert, housekeeper and secretary to Pope Pius XII for over 40 years (from before he was Pope until his death):

A force to be reckoned with.

Finally, a glimpse of St. Peter’s dome between the hedges:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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