Your vacation to Rome should not exclude participation in Sunday Mass, and in this regard, I have two recommendations for you.
For many people, the default idea might be: let’s go to St. Peter’s. However, as wonderful as it is to pray in St. Peter’s (instead of just sight-seeing), the crowds there are often huge and the line to get in quite long. It generally moves quickly, but the whole experience can be a bit stressful when you are trying to get to something scheduled for a particular time. By all means, go there if you want, but I list two good alternatives below.
Here are my suggestions for Sunday Mass in Rome:
1. English Mass at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia – often celebrated by an American priest who works in the Vatican, and very popular with the English-speaking pilgrims. The beautiful church, which is where the Divine Mercy image is particularly venerated in Rome, is just two blocks from St. Peter’s. 10:00am on Sundays (map)
…and, on the other side of town…
2. Solemn Mass with Choir at the Basilica of St. Mary Major – celebrated in Latin (with Italian readings and preaching), has a very international feel (in a good way). The celebrant chants the main prayers and the choir, which sings beautifully, chooses classics from our extensive tradition of Catholic music. There is organ accompaniment as well. And all of this, as the ancient mosaic of Christ and Our Lady looks down upon you. After Mass, go to the famous “Borghese Chapel” (large chapel, last on the left) to see the famous image of Our Lady, Protectress of the Roman People (Salus Populi Romani). Confessions are available in English – just look for a confessional with that language listed, in the left or right aisles. Four blocks from Rome’s train/bus station. 10:00am on Sundays (map)
Information current as of May 14, 2014. Always check in advance of your trip.