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Rome Reports

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A look into why Rome honors St. Rita with roses and bread

FR. FRANCOIS BANDET Pastor, St. Benedict (Rome) "This Church was known as the St. Rita church in Trastevere, because in 1938 a woman's prayers were answered by a miracle by St. Rita. So devotion to this saint became very strong here in Trastevere. The church was closed, but this woman  re-opened it to pay homage.â? MARIA CRISTINA PARMIANI "My grandmother, Elvira Ranaldi, had not asked for anything in particular. But one day, when she was at a store, she smelled a strong aroma or roses. Then, at night she had a dream where a nun told her to undergo an eight operation, since doctors couldn't find what was wrong with her. Well, after that operation, she was cured. She wanted to do something for St. Rita so she asked for that church to be re-opened.â? It's been 74 years now. But, the family of Maria Cristina Parmiani still follows the tradition that her grandmother started back in 1938. In fact, the granddaughter, along with the pastor, organize a yearly gathering in honor of St. Rita. Every year, it ends on May 22, with a solemn ceremony In a matter of hours, about 3,000 pilgrims pass by this church and each one takes a rose and a piece of bread. A rose because according to tradition St. Rita found one in the middle of winter time. The piece of bread, has a completely different meaning. FR. FRANCOIS BANDET Pastor, St. Benedict (Rome) "This lady wanted to include St. Anthony in this tradition, since he has a church nearby. So the rose is a symbol of St. Rita and the bread, represents the love and generosity God  has with us.â? In total, nearly 4,000 roses were distributed and about 66 pounds of bread were handed out. It's a special yearly celebration with a special cause, that takes place right in the heart of Rome. BR/KLH AA JM PR