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Mike,

 
I hope you and your family are doing well. It’s my great privilege to be in my second year of theology studies here in Rome at the Pontifical North American College. I attend classes at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, which is operated by the Dominican Order. There are about 160 men in formation for the priesthood here, hailing from across the US (as well as 6 or so Australian seminarians). 
 
We arrived back in August, when things were still mostly open throughout Rome and Italy. In those early weeks, I was able to get up to Ravenna (a city famous for 1,500 year-old Christian mosaics on the northeast coast of Italy). I also went down to Monte Cassino (the mountaintop site of both a famously pitched battle in World War II and the birthplace of Western monasticism thanks to St. Benedict). 
 
As the semester got underway, the COVID situation in Rome and Italy deteriorated. Our classes now meet exclusively online, and we were barred from leaving our seminary’s campus for about two weeks. Fortunately, we are blessed to have a gym, a running track, and plenty of green space to keep our sanity! Thanks be to God, I have not taken ill yet. A few guys here had COVID but they have recovered well. Since that time, we are now able to get out into the city for Mass on Saturday mornings and to run errands.
 
I was able to get in a nice 8 mile run along the Tiber to St. Paul’s Outside the Walls this week. I went to Mass this morning at Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, which was the site of a Marian apparition in 1842 and is the Church were St. Maximilian Kolbe celebrated his first Mass as a priest. I am spoiled living here, what can I say?
 
One of the best parts of this year is beginning to learn how to preach homilies. Every two weeks, we prepare and deliver a homily to a priest member of the faculty and two or three other classmates, who each evaluate us and offer advice. It’s a great exercise. It can be humbling, but it’s exhilarating to preach about the Word of God. This is why we came to seminary: to prepare to be parish priests. It’s a chance to use all of the theology we’ve been learning, and to draw on our own prayer life and experiences.
 
I am truly blessed to have the prayerful support of the Knights. Your prayers for me and the men in formation here are powerful and important–please pray for us, that we might be the holy and zealous priests our Church needs. Be assured of my prayers for you and Council 10515. 
 
Thank you.
 
In Christ,
Mike Nugent 
 
 
 
 
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Mike T. Nugent 
Pontifical North American College 
Theology II
Diocese of Arlington
Mike Nugent Rome #2