Strengthening the family has, from the very beginning, been essential the work of the ITI and many of its graduates. In keeping with this tradition, graduate Maruška Healy (2005) has written a wonderful guide for families about how to bring the celebration of Advent into the home. Steeped in theology and drawing from the great Advent traditions of the Church Maruška gives a beautiful witness for the domestic church on the USCCB Marriage web site. You can see for your self here!
It seems that the season of dancing is beginning here, and just the other weekend a group of students had the opportunity to go to a ball in Innsbruck, a town about four hours west of our little Trumau. The fellow-students who invited us are brothers who have had the privilege of spending many winters in Innsbruck. What was so remarkable about this visit to Innsbruck with them was how much their eyes were opened to the privilege that they had unwittingly been immersed in for years.
Innsbruck is a town tucked away in the beautiful mountains of northwestern Austria. They are craggy and soar straight up into the sky, and what made it all the more significant was that there was more than one member of our party who had never seen a mountain before. As you can imagine, this was utterly awe-inspiring for them. They were gazing, motioning and gasping at the beauty that surrounded us. For the brothers, who had been going to this scenic location ever since they were small boys, it was striking. They began to look around as well and say to one another, “I never noticed before—this place is incredible.”
At one point when the group of us was taking a wander through Innsbruck, one of the brothers even pulled out his phone to take a picture of a mountain which he had been “seeing” since he was a kid, saying in an awed voice, “wow, that is really beautiful.”
This event captures something I experience over and over at the ITI, the value of community for making me recognize beauty. Sometimes it takes the eyes of another to wake me to the beauty of something that is so everyday that it no longer strikes me. Perhaps it is simply that when you share with another, it forces you to slow down and see through their eyes, which makes the sharing itself a great gift.
Let us place a stone for you.
There is a light burning in an un-renovated room of the Schloss. Students trickle in and out at all hours of the day and night. Some come to look and they stay to work. They stay for hours discussing their studies, talking and singing. But what are they doing?
It started as a joke and a dream. Fr. Juraj Terek, the Byzantine Chaplain at the ITI, was surveying the ugly concrete floor of the Byzantine chapel in the Schloss and trying out different types of stone tiles. A student from Slovakia, Ondrej Vlcek, was with him. Ondrej said, “What about doing a mosaic floor?”
Fr. Juraj quipped in return, “and who will do it? You?”
“Yes, I can,” was Ondrej’s response.
It has always been like that at the ITI. When there is a need at the ITI, a student will arise who has a gift; a talent to supply that need. One has a gift for decorating, another for choir music, another for recording sound or taking photos, another for gardening, and yet another for organizing. Most of the work on campus is done by students. For the Byzantine chapel renovations, students knocked down the walls to reveal the original arches for the space. All the iconography in the chapel has been done by ITI alumni, so it is fitting that the floor will have the same quality.
Ondrej was trained in mosaics by a priest in Slovakia who had studied under Reverend Mark Rupnik, SJ. The technique the students are using was practiced in Ravenna. Ondrej spent the summer of 2014 getting donations of stone for the project – stone which is as international as the ITI. Stone which is in different colors and from places like China, Italy, and Brazil. Ondrej was excited when he spoke about the stone from Cappadocia (today’s Turkey). “The same Church Fathers that we study at the ITI could have looked or stepped on this stone!” As the Church Fathers are a foundation in the Faith for us, so these stones from Cappadocia will be a foundation in the Byzantine Chapel.
Fr. Juraj and Ondrej discussed and planned a design that would unite the artwork with the life of the ITI – a life of academics and prayer. The design takes into account the fact that the Byzantine Chapel will be dedicated to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Now students, under Ondrej’s direction, are working to put each stone in its place to build the floor. “The mosaic floor represents the ITI,” said Fr. Juraj. “It represents the students, faculty, and all those whose work, prayer and gifts come together to make the ITI as a whole. Each person who comes to the ITI gives of himself, as God calls him, and all our gifts together make the ITI what it is. It is like seeing a picture of God’s grace in action.”
Let us put in a stone for you – or for anyone you want to commemorate. Your donation of €100 will be put towards student financial aid (each year we need to raise €1.9 million in financial aid) and a student will place a stone for you. To donate, visit www.iti.ac.at and the giving pages. You can also see photos on this page: http://www.iti.ac.at/news-events/photo. We hope to have the floor installed by the end of January 2015, so if you are in the area before then, come and see the mosaic work in progress or place a stone yourself.
Then, each day during the Divine Liturgy, as the priest walks on the mosaic floor and brings the gifts to the altar during the Great Entrance, you too will be remembered in these words:
“May the Lord God remember in His Kingdom…the noble and ever-memorable founders and benefactors of this holy Church and all you Christians of the true faith, always, now and ever, and forever. Amen.”
Reflections of a Student from the Studium Generale Program
The International Theological Institute, located in the quaint metropolis of Trumau, Austia, where the wise meet the wiser, foreign mingles with familiar, and, above all, where the creature encounters the Creator in a new and real way more and more each day. Sounds a bit fantastical, huh? Well, it could be because I am inclined to lean a bit on the dramatic side of the personality spectrum; nevertheless, I think I still stand justified in my somewhat idyllic description of my current locale.
It’s worth a chuckle to me now when I think back to when I first heard from a current ITI student about the Studium Generale program, and to recall my initial reaction of laughing it away as an impossibility. There were several factors that attributed to my hesitation: International (far from all things familiar in America. I admit it, I’m a wimp), Theological (am I really up for something like that? I mean, what if the people are so smart you can’t even hold a coherent conversation with them? You just never know.), Institute (that just sounds scary? Yeah, I got nothing). To this day I still can’t pinpoint what it was exactly that changed my mind. I suppose it was the fact that although I doubted its actualization, I never dismissed it entirely, which is key for hearing what God wants us to do, right? Welp, again, God had a much more exciting plan in mind and. . .Tadah!. . .here I am! (queue applause) And what a tremendous blessing coming here has been for me!
In the end, I decided to come for the Studium Generale program for personal enrichment. It’s not a degree program, so that’s rather the point of the course, I believe. The year thus far has been filled with classes ranging from philosophy, economics, anthropology, and scripture (just to name a few), a rich community life (I’m constantly surrounded by accents…oh, sweet bliss!), and travels! One of the unique things worth noting is that the community is comprised not only of students my age, but also of families with young children, as well as religious and priests. This aspect is such a wonderful addition to the campus. It is the full life of the Church in all her vocations.
Speaking of the life of the Church, I can’t leave out the strong spiritual life offered me here. Daily Mass is offered in the Novus Ordo form (English or German), the Extraordinary Form, or the Byzantine Liturgy (which I have fallen in love with!). All of these options. Everyday. Don’t forget about adoration and rosary every day, then Akathist and confessions every week. Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot!
Then, to add adventure to bliss, let’s take a moment to recall that I’m in Austria. European travels just became extremely more realistic. Within a three month period, I’ve already had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Venice, Bratislava, and, of course, Vienna. Heck, I don’t have to go farther that the mundane streets of seemingly insignificant Trumau to be enchanted! There’s just something about experiencing —no, living—in another culture and continent that serves to enlarge your entire world-view perspective.
Basically, add these three elements together, classes, international community, and a rich liturgical life, and what else can I do but recommend American Airlines? Really. I can’t say it enough: God is good!
It was a crisp Autumn morning in the fateful year of 1939. In shock, the world watched as the ravings of a mad man beguiled an entire nation, and plunged the world into the unthinkable: another World War. It was under the dark shadow of the Third Reich that the calm, intelligent face of an Oxford Don looked out over a gathering of young people –who could have no way of imagining the horrors that were about to be unleashed upon them and the rest of the world –and explained to them why what they were doing was still worthwhile.
Ever one to see past the first impressions one might have of an event, or writing, or anything really, C.S. Lewis had a keen insight into the fears and hopes that must have gripped the souls of the young people of that day. A wounded veteran of the First World War, he had some idea of what was at stake, and what could be expected. He assuredly asked the questions that were in the minds of all his hearers from the start:
“What is the use of beginning a task which we have so little chance of finishing? Or, even if we ourselves should happen not to be interrupted by death or military service, why should we — indeed how can we — continue to take an interest in these placid occupations when the lives of our friends and the liberties of Europe are in the balance? Is it not like fiddling while Rome burns?“
How piercing these questions must have been! How piercing they are now! We too are studying during dark times. We too are engaged in “placid” occupations while we see the lives of Christians and others throughout the Near East torn asunder, or ended utterly. Indeed, the dire situation of Christians of the Middle East in particular was brought to the forefront of the thoughts and minds of ITI students during the Dies Natalis Keynote address by ITI board member Graham Hutton. We sat riveted as we heard stories of the works of evil men, and glorious martyrs who opposed them. “Shouldn’t we do something?”
The simple answer to this question is this: We are doing something. In Lewis’ words, applicable now as they were then:
“A man’s upbringing, his talents, his circumstances, are usually a tolerable index of his vocation. If our parents have sent us to Oxford, if our country allows us to remain there, this is prima facie evidence that the life which we, at any rate, can best lead to the glory of God at present is the learned life.”
For the Christian, discernment is always urgent. We are always in the midst of a battle “against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”(Eph. 6:12)
As Lewis points out:
“Thus the omnipresence of obedience to God in a Christian’s life is, in a way, analogous to the omnipresence of God in space. God does not fill space as a body fills it, in the sense that parts of Him are in different parts of space, excluding other object from them. Yet He is everywhere –totally present at every point of space – according to good theologians.”
So, yes of course we should be aware of the circumstances of the day and attentive to the needs and concerns of the world around us. And thanks in part to Mr. Hutton, we are better aware. Our desire is not to dwell in the proverbial Ivory Tower. We have come to the ITI to serve God. It is not always in active participation in relief efforts for those suffering present ills that we serve him. The time may come when we should serve Him thus, and we must be always ready. But for now, we can give thanks to God that we are able to take this time to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures and Fathers under the guidance of St. Thomas Aquinas and our Patroness Thérèse of Liseux, and participate in our little way to the furtherance and preservation of the teachings of the Church.
And we can pray.
The Cardinal Newman Society has added the ITI to its list of recommended Catholic Schools, noting that the ITI is a “faithfully Catholic institute… situated in the beautiful Austrian countryside just south of Vienna, Austria.”
For the full article that includes an interview with alumnus Max Becher, click on the link below.
Thoughts from a current MMF student:
A friend of mine asked me during thesummer holidays if I really wanted to enroll in the second year of my MMF studies at the ITI. He was wondering if it is not just useless drilling in theology and a waste of time which could have been spent more effectively (at work, for example).
As it happens, I enrolled in my second year, and week by week I become more convinced that it was a good decision. The spiritual-cultural state of all of our countries is so poor, and the state of the crisis in family life is so grave that, even if we all “worked ’til we fainted,” it would not save us.
What is of great importance today is sound philosophy, anthropology and theology. They by far surpass economic concerns in importance because they draw us to the things that really matter. If we want to be on the right path to happiness; if we want to eliminate evil and spread the good, we have to come back to God, to faith and promote healthy families – and this is what we are taught here at the ITI.
Thanks be to God and to all who make it possible!
A current student at the ITI shares some of his reflections on fatherhood here at the ITI. See the Fourth Pillar in action! From his blog post on Sunday, September 28, 2014:
HOW TO DAD
Note: I’m by no means saying I have the corner on fathering, but I do do my best and here is some things that have worked in our family. I’d love to hear your additions!
HOW TO DAD #1: QUANTITY TIME
We took a ferry across the Hallstatt Lake into the townsite.
The following are a few photos as we crossed the lake: (below is the house I plan to buy some day)
Our plan was to do a hike into Hallstatt, but the train didn’t stop where we thought it would so we found our youth hostel and took a bus to the train station we wanted to get off at and then hiked back into Hallstatt.
These next two photos are of how they deal with the waterfall coming off the mountain into their village.
The hostel was closed and it took a bit to work out some details. In the meantime we enjoyed the quaint town. Here are a few pictures while we waited for the bus to get us to the trailhead.
The trail we wanted to hike was called the Soleleitungsweg trail. It was created in the early 1600’s to carry a pipeline made from 13,000 tree trunks. Through this pipeline was funnelled brine as it was the easiest way to transport salt from the mines above Hallstatt. Brilliant.
The hike was 7km long carved literally into the side of the mountain. Often we had to duck so as to not smack on head on the stone above us.
This 7km hike was the easiest part of our trip. My kids are becoming better hikers and basically ran this entire hike without blinking an eye. Mind you, there wasn’t a ton of uphill as the old pipeline stayed quite level once hit the right elevation.
By the time we got back to the hostel it was pouring on us and we were soaked and ready for some pizza and beer (and cocoa)!
Here are the shots coming into Hallstatt as we walk down the mountain via hundreds of stairs into this ancient town.
And, as always, we always finish our hike with a chocolate bar!
HOW TO DAD #2: PRAYER TIME
Here is the view from our hostel window.
and one from the other window.
We walked to the Catholic Church on the hillside to pray our morning prayers together.
The view of the lake from where we were.
After praying the rosary together in the Church we prayed for ancestors in purgatory in the Ossuary. The town had run out of space to bury the dead so they received permission to dig up those already decomposed in order to have room to bury the newly deceased.
It was good to be reminded of our own mortality. Death isn’t something to fear, but something to prepare for.
A font to fill up with spring water.
HOW TO DAD #3: NATURE TIME
One thing that Becca and I decided when we first had Winter was that we wanted our kids to be outdoors so much that they felt at home in the mountains. So we’ve made a concerted effort to not have any video games, to have no television, to limit movies to once/week, and to get outside doing things and learning outdoor skills. Why? Because nature can form our character, it is beautiful, and there is no distractions pulling us apart.
It is now the next day and we were ready to begin our hike up to the hutte. We were in the Dachstein mountain range and and had the goal to reach a hutte at 2203m. This would be the kids first hike over 2000m. The hike was a strenuous 6.5 hours for an adult from Hallstatt. This would equate to 11 hours for us – so we needed a different plan. We took the gondola up the mountain as high as we could get and that knocked 4 hours off the posted time.
Here is a picture of the valley we were hiking through. We were high enough that there were very little trees and lots of shrubs.
At a certain point in the hike, the path began to climb out of the valley and we had to climb up (sometimes with ropes) and scale many rocks.
We thought we were getting close and then we looked to the left and there was our hutte at the top of the mountain. It seemed so far away and we were cold and wet and tired …
It was a great feeling to leave the tree line and enter into a land of rock and stone and cliff.
Below is the famous Dachstein Glacier. Many folks stay at this hutte and hike the glacier with crampons.
Tristan, Johannes and Dr. DeMeo hiked faster and beat us to the Simony Hutte. So they were waiting there for us to cheer us on as we finally made it to the top! You can see Dr. DeMeo cheering for us in the doorway.
And then, all cozy and warm, with hot cocoa ordered, we ate our tradition. It is great to be with my kids!
HOW TO DAD #4: KNOWING THEIR LIMITS
Here is the highest chapel in Austria where we prayed in the blasting wind before we started our day. It was Sunday morning and we had planned to make it back to Hallstatt for Holy Mass. Now we realized this was an impossibility and so we did a liturgy of the Word and a spiritual communion here at the chapel in the freezing cold.
Here we are catching a moment of peace out of the wind before continuing down the cliff side.
Below you can see the Simony Haus at the very top. It was an accomplishment to make it to the bottom safely!
We entered the valley again with 2 hours of hiking (at least) to go and already we were wringing freezing water out of their winter gloves. Benedict was the first to breakdown, than Winter, and then my mighty leader Tristan. What was fascinating was that they had to realize that breaking down and crying wasn’t helping at all. As we stood there we only got colder and more wet. We had to keep moving. All three of them gritted their teeth, bore the suffering and continued forward and I told a story to keep their mind off of the cold.
And then the snow stopped. Just that couple degrees was enough to lift all of our spirits. We made it to the gondola lift thankful, tired and wet. And my kids learned what it meant to persevere. What a great way to learn virtue!
HOW TO DAD #5: CELEBRATING TIME
Here was the present Margi left for Benedict by the front door:
One of our traditions to celebrate birthdays is that the kids get to choose the type of cake they want. Benedict wanted a honey cake with blue icing and a ‘B’ with cars. Well, Becca made him just what he asked for!
One thing we’ve loved about ITI is that no one really has a lot of money. Thus gifts at birthday parties are always crafts and cards made from friends. It is fascinating to see how meaningful these become to the kids. It is good to live simply.
And of course we end the day with birthday bumps!
HOW TO DAD #6: BUILDING FAMILY MEMORIES
Good water has a reading of 100 or less of dissolved hard minerals. Our water in Trumau has a reading of over 330ppm. This water at Talhof has a reading of 30ppm!
Talhof is a little retreat center run by a priest. Many people come here for pilgrimages and for rest. No one lives all year round.
HOW TO DAD #7: BE THE ROLE MODEL
Of course, Mothers are examples and role models as well. On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, ITI always does a 26km pilgrimage to Heiligenkreuz – the 1300 yr old monastery with a piece of the actual cross of Christ. This year Becca took the oldest two to walk and pray their pilgrimage.
Here Becca is just coming into to Heiligenkreuz just in time for Holy Mass. She walked from 7:30 to 3pm over mud and hills and rocks and fields.
And we made sure we stayed at the end for a chance to venerate and kiss the piece of the cross that held our Lord.
HOW TO DAD #8: BUILD VIRTUE
Kate begins her virtue training: perseverance. This is the first hike where Katie walked the whole way by herself. I was pretty proud of her!
We arrive at the castle ruins! There is no one there. We have the castle to ourselves. And we don’t have to pay to get in! This rocked!
As is our tradition, we celebrated this (short) hike with a chocolate bar and Kate received her very first hiking chocolate bar! I guess she’s part of the team now, eh?
This place was magical. And to think we could stay here the night and have the castle to ourselves … the kids literally ran up and down and around the castle for 4 hours straight playing whatever make believe games they were playing. It was awesome.
And, the Austrian government even refurbished the old style castle toilet! With a good 40ft drop for your ‘job’ to travel.
The tower was still intact so we made our way to the top. The picture below is looking at the castle from the base of the tower.
Here is the view of the valley that this watch tower and the one across the valley used to protect. If only I could travel back 600 years …
Margi and Winter watching a squirrel in a tree.
Here is Alex Harb, one of our kids favourite babysitters!
HOW TO DAD #9: CAMP WITH YOUR KIDS
The night time rain clouds were gone and beautiful fog seemed through the whole valley.
Breakfast around the fire and Kate happily eating Alex’s granola mix!
Kate and her best friend Margi!
And we came home closer together and with a daddy completely exhausted. I figured the kids might be tired, but rather they returned to campus and ran around till bed time. Crazy crazy amounts of energy…
Twentieth Century English spiritual writer Caryll Houselander, waxes eloquently about the importance and beauty of the purposeful emptiness that occupies the center of our very being in her wonderful book, Reed of God. The title of the book also acts as a principle image as she exhorts us to be reeds of God, filled with the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, and allowing Him to pass through us to into the world beyond. The whole of her teaching is perhaps fittingly summed up in her words, “The one thing she [Mary] did and does is the one thing that we all have to do, namely, to bear Christ into the world.”
I am blessed to be able to spend the summer here at the ITI with my family. Being sensitive to the needs of families, the ITI wisely and mercifully has no expectations that families can move out of their apartments for the summer as the single students do. No, the families remain in their place, working and living and surviving the summer heat as we are able. But it is this distinction in the kinds of students at the ITI; the variety in the ways of Christian life represented in the student body, that is a great strength of the school. How fitting for the families to remain! We represent the stability of Christian life and are blessed to be images (however imperfectly) of the Heavenly Home towards which we are all striving. So also, the single students represent and remind us of our pilgrim state, that “we have here, no lasting city” (Heb. 13:14). This life is a journey.
I could go on about the various ways each kind of group can and does benefit the overall life of the school, expounding on the evident graces we have from having student-seminarians, religious and priests; or the great meeting of East and West, but this will lead us way from the final purpose of this little reflection. Now is not the time because all of these benefits are, as it were, suspended, while the vast majority of the student body is away. Indeed, the whole Institute feels as though it is an empty reed, and even outside summer programs do little to enliven the place. There is a kind of hope filled expectation in the air as the Institute awaits the return of her students, who are the purpose and life of the school.
What a humbling thing to be a part of this! All our generous donors and dedicated faculty and staff are all here for the students. While this is true anywhere, at the ITI this takes on a special importance and significance. First of all, because we are a school of theology. Here we study the most important of all the sciences, and consequently are entrusted with the greatest responsibilities. Moreover, we stand out from other theological schools because we have a special mission as found in the four pillars of our Institute. The ITI is a kind of focal point for dialogue and the meeting place for the various parts of the Catholic Church. It is as a microcosm of the global Catholic Communion. Consequently, our ability to succeed, to learn from one another and with one another, to grow in charity together, and, in short, act as reed of God, can portend either success or greater struggle for the whole of the Church here on earth.
Therefore, while certainly always at least tacitly acknowledged in the midst of the busy academic year, it is the summer where we experience so keenly how the students comprise the “that for the sake of which” of the school. All things at this Institute are and should be ordered to her students. For, if the Institute is a reed of God, then we students in turn are as the breath of God; and if we are as the breath of God, then we must bring the life and light of God into the world. This is a great and wondrous thing, indeed.
I am recently arrived back from the canonization of Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Saint John XXIII in Rome. I have not had hardly enough time to reflect on what it means that they are canonized, or what a gift it was to be there to witness it, but at very least I am able to articulate a bit of what the experience was like. And so I think I must tell you my three favorite memories.
A number of my fellow ITI students elected to forgo sleep entirely on the eve of the 27th and kept vigil all night in prayer in order to secure a spot in the square of St. Peters. My small group arrived the morning of, and pressed onwards and inwards until we were about two kilometers from St. Peter’s, with a straight-shot view, nonetheless, of the great dome and the vast sea of pilgrims that stood ahead of us. Even from such a distance the whole celebration felt very intimate to me, due in part to the projector screens and loud speakers; and, even more particularly, thanks to the prayerful witness of the thousands who spanned the space between me and the altar, joining me to it.
This is the first thing that I must recount: the music was epic. Epic like an ancient ballad, epic like the last great blast of a symphony, epic like a marble monument: intentional, timeless, mighty, reverent. The congregation and the choir sang the lines of the creed back and forth in a kind of dialogue, and upon reaching the lines “on the third day He rose again, in accordance with the Scriptures,” these lines were repeated, and the choral melody ripped open into a surging harmony. Those five melodic seconds are my most vivid memory of the whole Mass. It struck me afresh, suddenly and keenly, as the music cued, that we were professing a thing wildly beautiful, beyond anything man has ever dared to hope.
But music must ever give way to silence. After Holy Communion had been distributed, a voice came over the loud speakers in several different languages, calling out to this congregation of millions for a few moments of silence. I hardly expected it could be possible, but the throngs obeyed. How can I explain to you what it is like to pray in silence together with so, so many people? There were square kilometers of people stretching ahead of me, packed in like sardines, and countless more fanning out behind, waiting in silence for the Pope to say “let us pray.” I knew then, with a searing certainty, that I am part of something infinitely bigger than myself, and more beautiful than words.
Yet the dearest memory I have of this Mass came between the music and the silence: the umbrellas. Yes, yes, the umbrellas; I mean that with all my heart.
The day was overcast, with a light sprinkle in the hours of waiting before the Mass and wind that smelled of wet all throughout the service. And so, perhaps expectedly, there were umbrellas, in papal hues, held by the altar servers escorting those who brought Holy Communion to the people. I witnessed this from far away, and to my distant eye these little white and yellow humps bobbing above the crowd where like beacons, indicating precisely where the Lord was being carried. The umbrellas were a simple, practical gesture, which in their simplicity were all the more beautiful to me: on the one hand, when you carry God about in the rain, of course you hold an umbrella over Him! And yet, on the other hand, when you carry God about in the rain… you hold an umbrella over Him?!
Yes, we do. With reverence and dignity, with matching umbrellas, probably set aside in a preparatory way, beforehand, in case of rain: because we love Him so much. We love Him so much that we come to receive Him in the rain, anyway, and we are eager to see that He is kept dry, like any King. We are so little in response to His complete self-gift that the best we can do are umbrellas; and yet, it is exactly right.
Altogether, this scene summed the whole thing up for me. We were gathered to proclaim and celebrate the entrance of two new saints in to heaven. And what made this all possible was confessed in that harmonic line of the creed, and adored in the silence, and received under papal umbrellas. And I shall ever relish these memories.
Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Saint John XXIII, pray for us!
(Photo © vatican.va)