While I was watching the Marine Band play the Inno e Marcia Pontificale (The Hymn and Pontifical March), which is the Holy See’s semi-equivilent of a national anthem, the emotions I felt were some which I did not expect.

After spending this semester studying the religious history of the United States, especially the predjudices which Catholics suffered in the early years of the nation, I could not help wondering if Archbishop John Carroll could have ever imagined that a ceremony like this would happen at the White House.

For all our ancestors who suffered so horribly I say, I am Catholic. Hear me roar!

Now, I suggest that we all learn the Inno e Marcia Pontificale.

Here are the lyrics:

O felix Roma – o Roma nobilis:
Sedes es Petri, qui Romae effudit sanguinem,
Petri cui claves datae
sunt regni caelorum.

Pontifex, Tu successor es Petri;
Pontifex, Tu magister es tuos confirmans fratres;
Pontifex, Tu qui Servus servorum Dei,
hominumque piscator, pastor es gregis,
ligans caelum et terram.

Pontifex, Tu Christi es Vicarius super terram,
rupes inter fluctus, Tu es pharus in tenebris;
Tu pacis es vindex, Tu es unitatis custos,
vigil libertatis defensor; in Te potestas.

Tu Pontifex, firma es petram, et super petram
hanc aedificata est Ecclesia Dei.

Pontifex, Tu Christi es Vicarius super terram,
rupes inter fluctus, Tu es pharus in tenebris;
Tu pacis es vindex, Tu es unitatis custos,
vigil libertatis defensor; in Te potestas.

O felix Roma – O Roma nobilis.

and the English translation:

O happy Rome – O noble Rome
You are the seat of Peter, whose blood was shed in Rome,
Peter, to whom the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given.

Pontiff, You are the successor of Peter;
Pontiff, You are the teacher, you confirm your brethren;
Pontiff, You who are the Servant of the servants of God,
and fisher of men, are the shepherd of the flock,
linking heaven and earth.

Pontiff, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,
a harbor amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;
You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,
watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

You Pontiff, you are the unshakable rock, and on this rock
was built the Church of God.

O happy Rome – O noble Rome.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing
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