The Campo Verano

The Campo Verano is the principal cemetery for Rome. Many religious congregations and houses have vaults here. On our visit today, Fr Charles and I managed to find the English College vault which I last visited on the occasion of the funeral of Fr Christopher Pemberton who died suddenly at the English College Villa in Palazzola in the summer of 1983. We had just returned from Fano where he was giving a retreat to myself, Fr Frank Marsden and Fr John O'Brien in preparation for our ordination to the Diaconate.

Walking around, we found the vault for the Irish College and I was delighted to find there a monument for Mgr Frank Frayne who used to work for the Pontifical Commission for Migrants and Tourists.

Mgr Frayne was a very kindly man who was generous with his time, taking the trouble to give new students a guided tour of St Peter's. The tour would start with the cherubs at the holy water font:

To illustrate the proportions of the basilica, Mgr Frayne would point out that the cherub's head was the size of four babies' heads. This led to some speculation that this might be used as a unit of measurement for all aspects of the Basilica - the baldacchino, for example, would be 75 babies' heads high.

All very silly, of course. But it was good to remember him today and perhaps you might join me in offering a prayer for the repose of his soul and that of Fr Chris Pemberton.

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