Passports and Preparations

Peregrinus Goes Abroad

Part 2: Peregrinus Goes Abroad; Chapter 21

 

“I am going to see the Pope,” said the Liturgiologist, knocking the ashes from his pipe and reaching for his hat.

 

Bon voyage,”[1] grunted the Antiquary. “But what’s your hurry? His Holiness has waited a long while, and, as he does not know you’re coming you might stay here for supper anyway.”

 

“I’m not joking, Pere,” replied to the Liturgiologist, laying down his hat and settling back again in his chair as he reached for the tobacco jar. “I’ve wanted to go for years, and now that your new church is finished there’s no need for me here. Besides, we’re getting a new Pastor at home, and it may be as well for him to learn how to get on without me right at the start. Since I’ve given up motoring…”

 

“Given up motoring, indeed!” shouted the Antiquary. “Given up driving your own Buck, you mean.”

 

“…I find I can save enough money for a trip,” went on the Liturgiologist, just as if he hadn’t been interrupted. “I shall sail right after Easter, so as to avoid the heat over there, and get back about the middle of June, so as to enjoy the warm weather.”

 

“Wish I could go with you,” murmured the Antiquary. “But I can’t. Don’t urge me! St. Inveteratus is built, Deo gratias,[2] but not paid for yet, so I’ll have to stick on the job. Fortunately I borrowed enough to take care of the interest for a couple of years…”

 

“You what?” asked the Liturgiologist, with a chuckle.

 

“I borrowed several thousand dollars more than I had to spend for the church,” replied the Antiquary, complacently. “That takes care of the interest till we get on our feet.”

 

“Then why can’t you go with me?” queried the Liturgiologist. “If you don’t have to rake up interest this summer, why not give yourself a deserved holiday? You surely must need it, after the way you’ve slaved putting up this gem of purest ray serene.” And he waved his hand towards the window, through which a glimpse might be caught of the new church.

 

“Well, there’s the landscaping…” began the Antiquary.

 

“A lot you know about shrubbery,” snorted the Liturgiologist. “I’ll admit your cleverness in telling architects how to build churches. I’ll go so far as to say that you make a fine theoretical plumber and heater, and I’ve managed to knock some ideas about liturgical arrangements into your head. But as a landscape gardener you are a good stenographer![3] Leave it to that fellow who takes care of the city parks. He never puts more than a dime in the collection basket; let him contribute his services to make your wilderness blossom like the rose.”

 

“If he will, I will,” said the Antiquary. “Not that anybody invited me to go, but what of it? I’m like the man so benighted, he could never tell when he was slighted, but out at a party, would eat just as hearty, as if he’d been really invited.”

 

“Good, but not original,” growled the Liturgiologist. “Of course you can tag along if you want to. You’d miss me dreadfully while I’m away, you know you would. No one to fight with. Now here I have a little plan…” And he drew out of his wallet a sheet of paper neatly ruled in squares, each square dated, and outlining a journey to Rome and thereabouts. Sail such and such a day. Arrive Naples on the blankth. Rome from the umptyumpth to the suchteenth. Afterwards Florence, Venice, Milan and a few days in Switzerland. Back to Genoa to sail on the… And the two old cronies were soon immersed in the pleasant controversies incident to such dreams. A map appeared from somewhere; a Baedecker[4] was pulled down from the shelf; steamship folders emerged from the Liturgiologist’s overcoat pocket.

 

“We’ll have to travel light if we’re going to skip around the way you’ve indicated on that blue print,” remarked the Antiquary, when the itinerary had been approved, “subject to revision.”

 

“Blue print! Blue print!” sneered the Liturgiologist. “Come out of it! You’re not building a church now, but trying to get away from a job that’s done. Here’s a list of ‘What to take with’ in this book of what’s-his-name’s. We won’t need half of the things he (or is it she?) mentions. But we must take cassocks.”

“Thin ones,” put in the Antiquary. “Something that will fold up into small space, and yet look half way decent when we present ourselves at the Portone di Bronzo.[5] I saw some very sheer silk ones the other day in Sartor & Co’s.”[6]

 

“Silk, did you say, Pere?” asked the Liturgiologist, with specious calmness. “Congratulations! I didn’t know you’d been made a Prelate. The Monsignori wear silk, of course, and Bishops, when they have been appointed to the title of Assistants at the Pontifical Throne and are actually living in Rome. But I have never been able to find the slightest authority, in the ‘Approved Authors’ or elsewhere, for the wearing of a silk cassock by a simple Priest.”[7]

 

“But one sees them…” began the Antiquary.

 

“And one sees, occasionally, a silk cappa magna,[8] though liturgically ‘they ain’t no sich anymile,’” replied the Liturgiologist. “An abuse (and this is certainly such) does not legitimatize a use. Besides, since it’s a matter of keeping cool, there are a number of materials, equally thin as and much cooler than silk. Merino is one of them, or any number of light-weight cloths. Myself, I’m going to take one of those sleeveless slips, which nobody can tell from a cassock when it’s worn over a coat.”

 

“We’ll have to see about our passports,” said the Antiquary, after a little. “And isn’t there some formality about saying Mass on the ship?”

 

“There certainly is,” came back the Liturgiologist. “One must have a special form of Celebret,[9] usually obtained from the Apostolic Delegate, for under the Canon Law it is not permitted to celebrate Mass on a ship at sea except under certain conditions which bind even Bishops and others having the Indult of a Portable Altar.[10] The sea must be calm and the ship not rolling, it must be far from the coast and another Priest or Deacon must be present to hold the chalice in case of great agitation of the ship. Cardinals and Bishops alone are exempt from the ‘non autem in mari’ of Canon 822.[11] You and I will have to get a Faculty from the Apostolic Delegate, and assist each other when we do say Mass at sea. And, by the way, bring along some purificators. There are several reasons why it is convenient to have your own. Practically all the liners have arrangements for Mass, furnishing all the ‘ornaments,’ and some of them have regular chapels and chaplains. I hear that one or two of the Italian boats have oratories where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.”

 

“Any Priest can hear confessions on shipboard, can’t he?” asked the Antiquary.

 

“Not only ‘can’ but ‘may,’ snapped the Liturgiologist, “provided he hold Faculties from his own Ordinary, or from the Ordinary of the place he sails from, or from the Ordinary of any port which the vessel may pass. Canon 883 covers the matter. So we’re all set for the religious part of the voyage as soon as we buy a couple of nice fat totums.”[12]

 

Totums?” this very softly from the Antiquary. “Prava est tua latinitas! [13] But why totums?”

 

“Because the season will change while we’re gone,” laughed the Liturgiologist. “And it’s easier to carry one book than two when you’re traveling light.”

 

“Oh,” said the Antiquary. “But why not you take Verna and I take Aestiva, and swap?”[14]

 

Punctum!” cried the Liturgiologist.[15]

 

Came the dawn. Or rather the stilly hour of midnight. “You can’t get home now,” yawned the Antiquary. “The street cars have ceased, and I’ll not get out the Swerve at this ungodly hour for anything less than a sick call. Go on up to the guest room. I’ll rout you out in time to get to the Sisters’ for Mass.”

“I hope you’re not seasick,” grumbled the Liturgiologist, as he climbed the stairs.

 

Footnotes

 

1 French for “good journey”.

 

2 Latin for “thanks be to God”.

 

3 One who takes verbal dictation.

 

4. A type of world travel guide.

 

5 Italian for the “Bronze Doors”, referring to the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

 

6 A witty reference to an ecclesiastical tailor, “Sartor” being Latin for “tailor”.

Portone di Bronzo
The famous bronze doors of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.
Cappa magna
Cardinals in cappa magna presenting themselves to Pope John XXIII.
Celebret to offer Mass
An example of a priest's celebret from 1942.
Portable altar
Example of an ancient portable altar used by a bishop.
Ship chapel: SS Normandie
The Catholic chapel on the famed French ocean liner, SS Normandie.
Modern portable altar
This wooden portable altar available from St. Joseph's Apprentice folds up into a handy carrying case. Click the link for more info.
Ship chapel altar
A close-up view of the magnificent Art Deco altar that graced the SS Normandie's ship chapel.
Portable altar (folded up)
The wooden portable altar available from St. Joseph's Apprentice folds up compactly into a handy carrying case. Click the link for more info.
Breviarium Romanum
The classic 4-volume breviary set divided by the four annual seasons.
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7 See the previous Peregrinus chapter (Monsignori in the Sanctuary) about ecclesiastical vesture.

8 Latin for the “great cape” worn on solemn occasions by certain prelates.

 

9 A Latin certificate whose name means “Let him celebrate”. This document is issued by the priest’s local ordinary or superior and is carried by him as a type of “license” to present in the sacristy when he wishes to say Mass in a church outside his diocese.

 

10 A tablet shaped object containing a small altar stone.

11 Latin for "but not at sea".

 

12 Here the term is being used to refer to “tomes” or books, in this case, breviaries. He may be using the word “totum” (from the word meaning “total”) to refer to the complete breviary, which usually was published as a set of four volumes, or 2 (or even three) thick, but compact books. “Totum” could even be referring to the breviary volumes that contain the “totality” of the liturgical year within their covers.

13  “Your Latin is crooked!”

14 “Verna” is Latin for “Spring” and “Aestiva” for “Summer”. Classically, breviaries were often sold as a set of four volumes, one for the liturgical days of each secular season.

15 Loosely translated as “very well”.

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