Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Pilgrims at the Vatican and Rome

Today our pilgrims walk over to St. Peter’s square. They had a walking tour of Rome last night. However, today they will go into the Vatican. They will have their breath taken away by the immense size and grandeur of it all. When you have a Universal Church that is 2000 years old you accumulate a lot of stuff and have a lot of people to remember and it is all here, starting with St. Peter.

They will see unbelievable art. They will walk past the Papal Apartments, the Vatican Swiss Guards.

They will celebrate Eucharist at the Tomb of St. Peter. Eucharist is a time when the celebrants are connected with the entire church is place and time. That sense of this mystery is never more real than here.

They will have a historical tour of the Vatican. They will see where Vatican I and II occurred, where Pope John Paul II lies.

I remember just being blown away by the history, the significance of place but also the beauty. It looks as if it was built yesterday, the materials are so pristine. The columns that hold up the dome are wider than my house.

Afterwards they will go to St. John Lateran. This was the church of the popes during Francis day. I never made it there so I look forward to viewing their photos and hearing their stories.

Finally they will visit San Francesco a Ripa. This is church in a poor neighborhood that Francis stayed at when we walked to Rome It is a beautiful yellow church with hidden relics and a long history of serving the poor and being taken over by conflicting political powers.

Rome is a wonderful city with layers and layers of history, beauty everywhere and so much activity. Our pilgrims will have a great day.

The Vatican June 2007


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