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Rome Reports

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Rome American community relocates, proving people, not buildings, are the Church

After calling Santa Susanna's Church in Rome home for 95 years, the American Community has relocated to their own parish in the city, St. Patrick's. It is run by the Paulist Fathers, who are a missionary society formed in 1858 to share the Gospel to the United States. Thus, they are doing so with their only mission in Europe being that in Rome.

FR. GREG APPARCEL
Rector, American Community in Rome
“My favorite part of living in Rome are the people. The people that have been part of this parish. The people that for four years didn't have a church, but still kept coming and finding us. And believing that the people are the Church, not the building.”

The rector for the past 21 years says attaining this parish was no easy task. More than 400 residential and visiting Americans in the city spent four years without a parish. They were in an on-going feud after the cloistered nuns based at Santa Susanna tried to kick the English-speaking community out. However, attaining St. Patrick's seems to be the answer to their prayers.

FR. GREG APPARCEL
Rector, American Community in Rome
“The Irish Augustinians had already decided to leave St. Patrick's and close the church. So the Vatican put us together and we worked out an arrangement. Now we're renovating the space here and we'll actually have more space with offices, classrooms, hall, and library than we had over there.”

He says this Rome parish acts like a parish in the states, with all Masses and sacraments in English. There are also Bible studies and religious education classes offered for children and adults, and donuts after Mass on Sunday.

FR. GREG APPARCEL
Rector, American Community in Rome
“Right now, the set mission is to get people to know that we're here. Where we are, changing websites and going to all the hotels in this area and bringing our schedules. Now we're just kind of opening up the possibilities of what we can do in the coming years.”

Now, the community is looking to make St. Patrick's their new home and with their latest construction projects and advertising throughout Rome, they are sure to do just that.