News Archive

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Another Visit by the Prefect of the Vatican Library

This morning Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, came to celebrate Mass in our church. He was in Oxford for a meeting at the Bodleian Library.

This is not the first time that the Prefect of the Vatican Library has been here: On 10th June 1914, Monsignor Achille Ratti, Vatican Librarian, came to visit the Bodleian Library. Despite being a famous mountaineer, he slipped and fell at Oxford railway station, twisting his ankle, which obliged him to stay in Oxford. He spent the night at St Aloysius' and celebrated Mass the following day. Eight years later he was elected Pope, taking the name Pius XI. In gratitude for the hospitality he had received he sent a signed photograph of himself on 11th March 1922, together with a message, which translated reads: "Remembering that We once celebrated the Holy Sacrifice in the Church dedicated to St Aloysius in the City of Oxford, we affectionately grant our Apostolic Blessing and a Plenary Indulgence in the hour of death to all who minister at the Altar and who assist in the Sanctuary". This picture and text still hang in our sacristy.

Below are Monsignor Pasini and Fr Daniel with the picture of Pope Pius XI:

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Like Monsignor Ratti, Monsignor Pasini was previously the Ambrosian Librarian in Milan. Fortunately his ankle escaped unscathed!