It is always a blessing to return to Rome. I take great delight in seeing others appreciate the sights and wonders of the eternal city. We visited the four major basilicas of St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major’s, and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. We prayed at the tombs of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Catherine of Siena, and our two newest saints, St. John XXIII, and St. John Paul. We relived historical times of two thousand years ago as we stood in the Roman forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon. We saw some of the greatest works of art in the history of mankind: Michelangelo’s architectural genius in the dome of St. Peter’s, his painting genius in the Sistine Chapel frescoes of The Creation on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the back wall, and his sculpturing genius in The Pieta in St. Peter’s and The Resurrected Christ in Sancta Maria Sopra Minerva . We saw the frescoed Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Museum and Raphael’s large canvas of the Transfiguration. Bernini’s works adorn the city from the symmetrical Colonnades that embrace St. Peter’s square to the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, to the Fountain of the Sinking Ship at the foot of Spanish Steps. Inside St. Peter’s Bernini’s seven story bronze Baldacchino over the main altar dominates the nave and his Altar of the Chair with the Holy Spirit window and the four great doctors of the church, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Athanasius, and St. John Chrysostom adorn the apse,…. a Bernini masterpiece!
We saw Pope Francis three times. The day we arrived he was having a special Mass in the square for Italian police and military. We got there just in time to see him drive around the square in the Pope mobile. We attended the Papal Mass on Pentecost in St. Peter’s Basilica. In his homily, Pope Francis said that the Holy Spirit surprised those first followers of Jesus. The church today, if it is open to the Holy Spirit, will be a church of surprises. No surprises? A sick church! We also had tickets for the Papal audience in St. Peter’s Square. We got some close up pictures.
We prayed for you all at our Mass underneath the main altar of St. Peter’s , close to the bones of St. Peter. We prayed for you all at our Mass underneath the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. A candle burned for the people of St. Dominic before the tombs of St. Francis and St Clare in their churches in Assisi. It was another great trip to Rome. Good weather, good companions, good food and wine!