• Pre-dawn run in Miami

    I’m back in Washington after a restorative weekend in Miami. Late August weather in South Florida is exactly what I like, and I was able to go for some good runs—including an early morning run yesterday at 5:30am before catching my flight back.

    The sunrise from the Uber to the airport was a reminder of why this part of the country is so great.

  • Reading in Miami

    Reading in Miami

    I’m reading John Garvey’s The Virtues while I’m in Miami. It’s an accessible book and worth reading, probably annually.

    From the book’s Amazon description:

    An ancient question asks what role moral formation ought to play in education. It leads to such questions as, do intellectual and moral formation belong together? Is it possible to form the mind and neglect the heart? Is it wise? These perennial questions take on new significance today, when education ― especially, higher education ― has become a defining feature in the lives of young people.

    Throughout his more than 40 years in academia, John Garvey has reflected on the relationship between intellectual and moral formation, especially in Catholic higher education. For 12 years as the President of The Catholic University of America, he made the cultivation of moral virtue a central theme on campus, highlighting its significance across all aspects of University culture, from University policy to campus architecture.

    During his two decades of presiding at commencement exercises, first as Dean of Boston College Law School and then as President of The Catholic University of America, Garvey made a single virtue the centerpiece of his remarks each year. The Virtues is the fruit of those addresses. More reflective than analytical, its purpose is to invite conversation about what it means to live well.

  • Miami for the weekend

    I’m heading to Miami for the weekend, for a few days away. I’ll be working remotely today and tomorrow, but enjoying the change in climate and scenery and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

    It’s the simple things. Views like these never grow old.

  • Leaving Rome

    Leaving Rome

    We’re flying back from Rome after six weeks in Italy this summer. We started with a week in Rome in June, spent July in Florence, and spent the past week and a half visiting Milan, Lake Como, Assisi, Teramo, and other parts of Abruzzo before these final two days back in Rome.

    We stayed at Hotel Mecenate, across from the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, for our final two days in Rome. And last night we made our way back to where we started, a short walk from Saint Peter’s Basilica, for dinner at Arlu. We ordered the rocket and pears salad with walnuts and parmigiano reggiano cheese as an appetizer and MaryKate and I each savored our entrees of sliced beef with rocket and parmesan flakes.

    We were fortunate to have a fantastic view from Room 301 at the Hotel Mecenate. We had our windows open to enjoy the fresh air and sounds of Roman life, and were struck by the grandeur and solemnity of the bells of Saint Mary Major.

  • Back to Europe

    Back to Europe

    Our team at Americans United for Life concluded our three intense days for our annual All Team together in Washington, DC. We took stock of the fiscal year just ended, the success that is Roe v. Wade’s reversal and the opportunities for human rights that are now possible, and vision cast for the year to come.

    I am now on a flight back to Europe. I’ll continue working remotely from Florence this month and will be taking some time away in August while we travel a bit.

    The Nationals fell to the Mariners, but it was a beautiful day for a ballgame. My Uber to Washington Dulles might be one of my last, if Metro ever gets its Silver Line extension to the airport operational.

    I’m flying to Frankfurt and will land around 7am, with a five hour layover before a connecting flight to Florence.

  • Back in Washington, briefly

    I am back in Washington, DC this week for our annual gathering with the Americans United for Life team. We’ll have a few intensive days of All Team meetings and hopefully head out later this week with renewed energy and focus.

    I caught an early morning flight yesterday from Florence with a layover in Brussels and skipped much of the passport control line in order to make my connecting flight to Washington Dulles.

    The fatigue of travel is offset by the sights seen along the way:

    Before we came together in person today, I spent a little while at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and enjoyed the quiet of Catholic University’s summertime campus:

    It’s good (strange, too) to be back in Washington for a few days. I’ll catch a flight back to Florence on Wednesday night.

  • Rome and the many expressions of Catholic culture

    We continue to enjoy Rome in all its summertime glory, with more photos today. We were fortunate to join a group of young French pilgrims for Mass at the Church of Saint Louis of the French, near Piazza Navona.

    We ended the day with a walk along via del Corso, a visit to the Spanish Steps and Our Lady, and a late 10pm dinner.

  • A scorching Roman sun and cool summer nights

    We are enjoying Rome. It is generally 100 degrees or so daily, but where we are staying makes this quite enjoyable thanks to our hotel’s wonderful courtyard and the proximity of water, coffee, and gelato shops.

    I am adjusting to both the time change and my changed working hours, as I’m working 3p-11pm Rome time in order to sync with Washington, DC working hours while we continue to engage the opportunities of this post-Roe moment.

    In lieu of a written narrative, because the days are full and long, I’ll share a photographic narrative instead:

    The seagulls nesting on the steps of Saint Peter’s Basilica is not something I remember from my time here a few years ago. After Vatican Square is closed to visitors around 9:30pm, the seagulls have the space to themselves and apparently prefer nesting as close to Saint Peter’s Basilica as possible—hence the use of a laser light to disperse them, which we’ve seen routinely around this time.

  • In Italy for the summer

    We arrived in Rome this morning and will be in Italy for the next six weeks, other than a brief trip back to Washington in mid-July for work. MaryKate and I are spending this week in Rome and will be heading to Florence next month. I’ll be working remotely and she will be completing a summer program in painting.

    We took the train in from the airport and walked the few blocks from Rome Termini to Saint Mary Major Basilica and arrived just in time for Mass at noon. We walked a bit more before taking an Uber to Vatican City, near where we’re staying.

    It’s good to be back in Rome for the first time in a few years and to see the Eternal City returned to life post-pandemic. The World Meeting of Families 2022 just ended yesterday, and so it feels like there’s a special changing of the guard in terms of pilgrims and visitors.

    We’re staying at the Palazzo Cardinal Cesi on the Via della Conciliazione, a hotel with a fascinating story:

    The Palace was built in 1400 and was bought by Cardinal Pierdonato Cesi who had it restructured and refurbished, turning it into an antiques and art museum, and installing a well-endowed library. Today, the Generalate of the Salvatorians has converted part of the building into an elegant and exclusive “welcoming home”, with 29 rooms all fully equipped with every amenity. Each room is a small cosy haven, furnished with taste and style.

    Here the guests can personally experience the spirituality of this unique place, drenched in history at the very heart of Christendom. …

    Located on Via della Conciliazione just a stone’s throw away from St.Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Garden, the Tomb of John Paul II Karol Wojtyla and also Auditorium Conciliazione, Castel Sant’Angelo Fortress, Bambin Gesù Hospital, the Monumental Complex of S.Spirito in Saxia, you can easily join the Hospital Policlinico Gemelli.

    The Vatican district is a quiet and elegant area of the city centre of Rome adjacent to the Vatican City, world ’s smallest independent country. The area includes such resplendent sights as St. Peter’s Basilica (the largest Christian church), Castel St. Angelo and the astonishing Vatican Museums, one of the most beautiful and popular museums in the world.

    By crossing the bridge on the Tiber you can easily reach on foot the historical centre of Rome including Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps and the Coliseum. Also, five minutes walking you will find the charming Prati district: via Cola di Rienzo and Via Crescenzio with their countless boutiques represent a true paradise for shopping lovers.

    The area is also very well served by public transports which provide a fast connection to Rome’s major historical sites and districts. The typical Trastevere neighborhood full of trendy bars and quality restaurants is reachable with a 20-minute walk along via della Lungara, once the private street of the Pope. Yet this is another fantastic and convenient location to discover all Rome’s wonders on foot.

    We won’t be visiting all of these sites, but we hope God gives us a good week.

  • A change of scenery

    We spent much of last week in Ocean City, New Jersey for a change of scenery after the long winter months. The pre-Memorial Day life of a shore town like this is slow. Run or walk in relative solitude. Drive and park wherever you’d like. Enjoy the place.

    We decided to go due to an unseasonable warm-spell in Washington, DC that had us thinking that warmer weather was truly here. But our time in Ocean City was cold and nearly autumn-like.