Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

The Best Passover I Ever Had

In Stories, secrets & dreams on April 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm


The best Passover I ever had – at least, one of the more memorable ones – I had dinner with a priest in a Chinese restaurant in Rome on the first night of Passover.

About 15 years ago I spend a month there, alone and having no Italian to speak of. I knew how to say grazie and prego and that plus my joy and delirium at having total freedom to wander around when and where I pleased – not having to worry about displeasing anyone. I knew a few American expatriates from previous visits so my evenings were not too dismal- and so back to the first night of Passover, when I found myself having dinner with a charming missionary priest from Boston attached to the Vatican. I had met him on one of the Capitoline Hill sin Rome, where not too many tourists wander. It was the end of March or the early part of April, and between the bird sounds around me and the wind in the cyprus trees – I put my legs up on the bench I was sitting on and with a perfect sense of serenity just dozed off. I awoke with a start and there was Father Joe, standing to my left, watching me with a totally benign smile on his face. I was not only startled but embarrassed – I, an American lady of a certain age in an expensive genuine Burberry, stretched out like a teenage hippie.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said and sat up

“Why?” he said. “What a blissful way to sleep, on such a perfect day”

He sat down beside me and we talked and talked, mostly about Ancient Rome, and some personal things. For the rest of my stay we met regularly – my savior who kept me from being alone on Passover. (I must admit I ordered the mu shu pork). I tried to contact him on my next trip bit I was told he was at a mission in Africa. I spent Easter – Roman Catholics’ great day 0 among the Romans – and that was certainly the best Easter I’ve ever spent.

by Betty Nicholson



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