Before I return to my narrative, let me just say this...
What the Italians can do with food...Oh my goodness!
I had veal with some fried potatoes (sidebar to this sidebar: I am discovering potatoes are a more significant element in Italian cooking than I realized. They show up far more often than I expected). You know how that Mike Myers character on Saturday Night Live used to say, it's "like butter!" These potatoes -- sliced thin and cooked in oil -- really were like butter. I've never had fried potatoes like this. I told the waiter; but I don't know if he understood.
OK OK, back to the day...
So after working things out with the Carabineri over misunderstandings about the demonstration, I made my way back down the street, to the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles. But it wasn't yet 4 pm. So I sat down and read a bit, using my iPad -- which, with an app, masquerades nicely as a Kindle. A friend of mine has written a book, and I've been working at it during my travels. If you're reading this, dear friend, I'm about 2/3rds of the way through, and I can't wait till I see you to tell you all my reactions to your magnificent book!
Between jumping up to avoid being run over (it's a narrow street where I was waiting), and giving directions to McDonalds, and being approached by one or two beggars, I managed to read a bit, and then it was 4 pm -- at which point I ambled over to the locked gate in front of the doors of the basilica. There were several people waiting. (I don't know why I don't think to get pictures of these things.)
The fellow who languorously unlocked the door and the gate turned out to be il sacristano -- the sacristan. So I asked him about offering Mass, either that day, if possible, or else the next day, if not. This sacristan wasn't grumpy; he was something between diffident and inscrutable. He managed to use no Italian words I even remotely understood; so I just followed him to the sacristy, and stood around while he got things together. He assigned me to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, where I found -- no surprise! -- some people waiting for Mass! How did they know?
While I don't usually attempt to get pictures or video while I'm offering Holy Mass, this time I made an exception. Here's a snippet:
Hahaha, just kidding! Did I mention I had a little wine at dinner?
Seriously, I did get a few pictures of the church. Here is the tomb of the Apostles Philip and James, which is under the high altar:
Here is the main altar. The painting depicts -- I think -- the martyrdoms of both Philip and James. I may be wrong; feel free to correct me in the comments. Notice the folks going down to the tomb of the Apostles.
After Holy Mass, I headed back here, at which point I wrote part one of this post, and now I've written part two, as I savor the simple yet really quite good meal I just had at a restaurant around the corner.
And in digging into my collection of photos, I realize I never reported on my visit to Saint John Lateran, and the Roman Forum! So that's next...