Last November, when I was privileged to stay with a few friends on the Vatican grounds in the St. Martha guest house, one of the first sights that met us every day was this plaque on the corner near the hotel:
The plaque identifies this spot as the site of Nero's circus, where the Apostle Peter and the first Roman martyrs gave their lives for Christ. To walk that hallowed ground every day was an unbelievable experience. I kept thinking about the brutal blood sport entertained by Nero and the mobs that kept him happy. The perverse slaughter of so many Romans whose only crime was to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The fact that these martyrs can only be identified as a group, speaks to their numbers.
The plaque is affixed to the wall that surrounds the German graveyard in the Vatican.
This is the cemetery where Sister Pasqualina, the assistant to Pope Pius XII is buried. She was also known as la "popessa."
|Swiss Guardsmen stand where Christians once were tortured.|
Pray for us holy martyrs of Rome!
(and ad multos annos to Father Reynolds!)