N otes from R ome By Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC We are one of many international religious communities with head- quarters in Rome, con- gregations that often need to receive permis- sion from the Holy See for various matters. Our Congregation came to Rome early in our history. Initially, our Congregation was found- ed as a diocesan religious order in 1670. Our Founder, St. Stanislaus Papczynski ( 1631-1701), walked to Rome twice from Poland during his lifetime and sent another Marian to Rome to seek papal approval of our rule of life. It was not easy for the first Marian Fathers to receive the approvals they were seeking since they did not know many people in Rome and were coming in as outsiders. But eventually, in 1699, we received papal approval, permitting us to develop and spread internationally. In Rome, at the end of the 18 th century, our Congre- gation came to have stewardship for 20 years of a church dedicated to the Roman martyr St. Vito and a monastery. At the end of that century, Napoleon expelled all of the foreign religious communities from the city, including our own. Though the church had been entrusted to us in per- petuity, we never returned to the complex of St. Vito. More recently, the Marian Fathers opened a house in Rome in 1932, five years after the death of our Renovator, Blessed George Matulaitis ( 1871-1927). In 1973, we demolished that building and built our present religious house on the same site. Today, the superior general of the Marian Fathers lives here, along with his general council. I am one of the members, serving also as the Congregation’s vicar gen- eral and local superior of the Roman house. Three other Marians also serve on the council, one of whom serves as general secretary and the postulator general (our liaison with the Holy See); one councilor serves as the econome general (or the chief financial officer) of the Congregation; and the last councilor holds the office of rector of the Marian College. We Marians generally com- plete our initial formation in our home province or vicariate, but after ordination, some priests come to Rome to study for advanced degrees. There are currently four Marian priests from Poland, Brazil, Cameroon, and Canada here doing just that. The superior general and his general councilors regularly hold meetings here to oversee the work of the Congregation around the world. Our general promoter of the missions also lives here, although he is often on the road raising funds for our missionaries. But the community doesn’t just include the general officials of the Congregation. One Marian brother here serves as the local econome, taking care of the financial books of the house, helping with the shopping, and tend- ing to house maintenance. Another Marian brother serves as librarian and archivist. There are also five Polish religious sisters, members of a community dedi- cated to St. Joseph, who live in a separate wing of the house. They have been working in this house for more than 40 years, cooking for us, doing the laundry and cleaning, and answering the door and telephone. Mass is offered daily in our own chapel here. We also meet in our chapel three times a day for prayers, as well as offer daily Mass in a number of nearby chapels for religious sisters, students, and laypeople from the area. Please pray for all of the Marians in our Roman house! AT THE HEART OF THE CHURCH Father Joe Roesch, MIC, is the vicar general of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He lives in Rome. M arian H elper • S pring 2018 • marian.org 9 I ’ve been writing this column from Rome for more than a decade now, so I thought I would share with you what precisely th e Marian Fathers are doing in Rome. The Marians in Rome celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Please pray for all of the Marians in our Roman house.