Xavier Magazine

Roman Roads

For years prior to his unexpected death in May, Paul Cioffi, S.J., taught a weeklong seminar to veteran Catholic priests in Vatican City in Rome. So when Leo Klein, S.J., got the news about his dear friend Cioffi, not only was he saddened, but he got another surprise as well. The call came with a request: Prepare the lessons from scratch, fly to Rome and teach the seminar. “I enjoyed it, though it really was something to prepare for,” says Klein, the University’s vice president for mission and ministry. “It was a different level of teaching from undergraduate and graduate students. I was trying to get these people to dig into their own experiences.”

Klein arrived in Rome and took an apartment in Vatican City. During the day, he taught 35 American priests who were on a four-month-long sabbatical, delivering two sessions a day. Klein’s seminar covered Christian life and worship—the Eucharist, the liturgy of the Word, scripture and the sacraments—all in five days. At night, he sampled pasta, pizza and Italian wine at nearby bistros. He needed the break from the all-day lectures and group discussions he monitored, though the topics and feedback were engaging. “I was amazed with these people and impressed with how serious they were,” he says. “They said they were stimulated, and they raised other questions. We got into some pretty heady theology.”

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