The Roamin' Roman

Benvenuto! You have happened upon the blog of a wandering Catholic American college student studying for a year in Rome, the Eternal City. You will find here my pontifications, ruminations, reflections, images, and ponderings on my life in Rome. Ciao!

Monday, April 3

The past week... and then some

Greetings to everyone in blogdom - I am sure you have been praying right along with us all this past week, and hopefully you were even able to watch the JP II memorial and/or Mass of Suffrage. It has been crazy busy here, of course, and it's only going to be more so for the next two weeks as we all eagerly push on towards the promise of Easter!

Let me think here on what's been happening in the last week, before I get to the photos. Ok - first on the list, as always, station churches. Yes, I can proudly say that we are still going strong on our Lenten practice of hiking to all the churches every day, we can now even say that we walked to St. Paul's Outside the Walls (Wednesday's church)!! Other station churches we went to included Santi Quattro Coronati (home of the Little Sisters of the Lamb), San Lorenzo in Damaso (yup, yet another St. Lawrence church), San Martino ai Monti (beautiful church tucked away by St. Mary Major), Sant' Eusebio (unremarkable in my eyes... but Fr. Cozzens was the main celebrant for Mass!), San Nicola in Carcere (built over three old Roman temples - very cool), and finally - it was the big one! St. Peter's Basilica was the station church on yesterday, and this is the one you don't want to miss, more on that in a bit...

What else? Well, I visited the Gesu again this week, with the mission of A) buying one of those awesome posters of the ceiling that Amy reported, and B) taking my own photos of the most awesome ceiling in Christendom. Mission accomplished - as you shall see. I also stumbled into the church of San Silvestro in Capite, which has been on my "hit list" for awhile, due to its reputation as having the remains of St. Tarcisius (oh, and St. John the Baptist's skull...). We also went back to check out Santa Sabina for class on Friday, and I finally got a shot of St. Dominic's orange trees without the 21st century cars behind them (and also managed to spend a lot of money at the coolest Dominican gift shop on earth!).

On Wednesday, we had another fine Wednesday evening here at the house, a couple of my friends who are here in Rome (also studying) joined us for the evening, and we had a nice couple from England (friends of Fr. Carola and the Jesuits) come and talk to us a bit on marriage and on JP II's "Theology of the Body" - talk about changing the culture of death into the culture of life - TOB needs to be spread throughout the world!

A few of us went over to the Little Sisters of the Lamb too, later in the week, to help them in their garden, it was desparately in need of weeding! It was around lunchtime when we finished, and so the sisters asked us to stay for lunch too. The sisters are completely medicant (relying on God's Providence and the good will of others to provide them with food) and so there was some slight hesitation - but then they told us with joy that the good people just down the way from them at the Irish College had graciously provided them with plenty of food for us all. 'Nuff said - we sat down and enjoyed the day with them, of course.

Then, of course, the biggest topic of the week, the anniversary of John Paul II's death on earth and birth into eternal life (we pray). The big vigil with Pope Benedict was amazing, simply amazing. I cannot imagine what it was like to be here when John Paul was dying, a year ago. There are only a fraction of that many people here this weekend, and it was still incredible. I have a lot to say about this, but perhaps it would be best to put it all with the photos. The same goes for the special Mass of Suffrage that Pope Benedict celebrated this evening in the Square.

It was a week in which, as one of our house members said, "I was proud to be Catholic" and "so happy for the gift of faith"! This past week is one that I feel really encapsulates the heart of what it means to be Catholic, to be Christian - to live this Lenten week in Christian community, to receive the Blessed Sacrament every day with so many of my family in Christ, to go to confession and spiritual direction, to visit so many churches in Rome, and pray for so many people (you too!) at the tombs and relics of so many saints and martyrs (and JP too!), to serve others in charity, to Adore our Lord in the Sacrament, to pray the Angelus in full chant with the Norbertines at the Angelicum, to sit in the St. Peter's Square with thousands of others waiting to pray the Rosary with the Holy Father, and yes, being with the Holy Father and joining him today as he offered the one true, complete Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary at the Holy Mass today -- WOW. We are still in the Lenten desert, but the Lord has so blessed us these past days, I feel that He is preparing us all to follow Him more closely then ever - the build up for Easter has begun!

But of course, there's still a week and a half of Lent to go - pray for us, that we may have perseverence.

I must go up and visit our Lord in the chapel for an hour, but then I will be back to put up those photos... stay tuned!


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