Underground excavations began in the ruins of the Curia Pompey under the Largo di Torre Argentina, under the streets nearby. The opening of these ruins occurred back in 2013. The excitement of seeing, after so many long years, the actual site of the murder of Julius Caesar rushed through Rome like the sirocco. In a city which is cynical and not prone to excitement, this news was greeted with joy.
However, problems with the area forced the exact spot to shut down. It was not until July of 2016 that the real spot of the murder was opened up again. It was soon shut down because a startling discovery.
A body with a note, with a gun, and in a cassock shocked the archaelogists. The priest was finally identified as one who had been missing for a while. The Pope had been aware of the mystery of this missing priest and had, rightly so, assumed him to be kidnapped and possibly dead.
In fact, within days after the identification of the body, the Pope declared him one of the martyrs of the Church, hearkening back to his decree in his first encyclical, Consilium Dei coniugium, and in an action which was considered highly controversial, because of the connection between the two deaths, Pope Francis II declared both John Killiney, formerly Bishop of the Seaview Diocese, and Father Andrew Longley, his Vicar-General, martyrs of the Church.
The note found with the body of Father Andrew indicated the reason for his death. This note was not published. But, archivists would be allowed to see it in seven years.
The famous brother of the priest responded quickly to the finding of his lost brother. He had earlier resigned from the Senate, just before the news of the kidnapping hit the media. He had moved to Rome, and now, after a long time of looking and praying, was called upon to identify the corpse. By the end of the year, James Longely was installed in the Latroun Monastery near Jerusalem. He has finally made his promise a solemn vow.
The schism of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of America became a reality about the same time as Father Andrew's disappearance. Anabelle and David could no longer stay in their parish, which was one where the parish priest and those members who supported the new church were all excommunicated. More than 262 parishes, mostly in the eastern part of the States, followed the many bishops and priests, who led their sheep astray, into the darkness of separation from Holy Mother Church.
After many discussions, in those hot summer days, David took Anabelle to the Catholic Bruderhof at the Josephinum. There, in October, little Andrew James Collins was born. He looked just like his dad. David was put in charge of all the computers and electricity, and slowly but surely, he made the entire site off-grid. The storm clouds swirled above the heads of this little community, but there, Anabelle, David and little Andrew could get to daily Mass and weekly confession. The little family felt privileged and grateful. Anabelle, one day told David a story. It was her old dream.
"The man behind the Bishop was Andrew. I knew, I knew he would die soon," she said quietly, looking at the sleeping baby in her lap. David put his arm around his wife and child. "May both of them intercede for us now, and at the hour of our death. Amen."
"Amen," replied Anabelle.
To be continued....