Thursday, July 29, 2010
On a warm day in June, a group of Americans and Romans descended upon the stately Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome in order to make a proper Christian of young Thomas Alessandro. His days of debauchery, incredulity and disbelief had run out. This change didn't come a moment too soon, since in the past year he often drank until he vomited, then passed out only to wake up with his little trousers filled with his own filth, all the while babbling incoherently to anyone who would listen. I'm not saying that he's perfect now; he still wakes up in his own filth and babbles, for instance. But his drinking problem is behind him now and it seems like he's doing a little bit better every day.
The Roman basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, so called because it is a great (Papal) church as well as the largest of the 26 churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a beautiful, imposing building with a mysterious history. Even more mysterious is how a group of unruly Texans were allowed into this church to baptise one of their own. When you're in a foreign land it's best to just smile, nod, refrain from asking too many questions; and in Italy that goes doubly so.