I decided that I would try Mass again under this magnificent dome. It would be my third time. The other two were rather upsetting; I must have exuded guilt that I was a non-Roman Catholic taking Communion. The first time, easily more than fifteen years, I was reprimanded by the priest. I came forward with open hands, only to have him shake a finger in my face and with a loud “NO” place the wafer in my mouth. I figured he was speaking out against Vatican II, but it sure shook me up—I’m not accustomed to being yelled at by men (or women). A few years later I tried again, but this time the priest called me back, and then said, “Va bene,” and I returned to my seat. It seems that he hadn’t see me eat the wafer and was concerned that I was saving it. (To sell? To save? To give to someone?) I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but clearly I didn’t know the rules.
So, with trepidation I decided to try again, and this time all went well. There was my friendly priest who loves Boston helping me on my way.
The Franciscan complex, situated on the top of a hill, is a simple, working monastery. The section open to the public includes a small church with some minor early Renaissance paintings, two miniscule cloisters, and a winding staircase leading to six cells of the early monks.