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Letter from Rome: The not-so-Eternal City

The artifacts of Catholic Rome and the essentials of being a Christian community

Letter from Rome: The not-so-Eternal City

A few months after arriving in Rome many years ago to begin theological studies, I received a letter from the person who made it possible for me to be here.

"Enjoyed hearing of your early impressions of the Eternal City," said Bishop James Hoffman of Toledo, Ohio.

His handwritten letter of Oct. 28, 1986 — which I looked at again the other day — was in response to something I had sent to him several weeks before.

"Truly there is great beauty and much antiquity," he said of Rome. "It helps to sort out the timeless elements of life and those which are time-bound."

His words still resonate with me all these 35 years later.

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