See all the photos of our trip on my wife’s Flickr
Dad with Nathanael visiting Sisters of St. Bridget.
(St. Birgitta of Sweden is my patron saint. I’m the dad and Nathanael is our eldest son of three boys. Denise, DeeDee, is my wife. Our other two sons are Aaron and Micah.)
- DeeDee’s prayer room, praying for our pilgrimage to Rome. 2. Looking out the plane’s window at specks of light; apart from God’s love, what meaning could our lives possibly hold? 3. The first time Dee and I played Black Jack together; we waited in a Turkish airport for our connection; even after 33 years of marriage, we still have firsts! 4. Pizza in Rome is worth standing for–many restaurants there have no chairs; people in Rome don’t have trouble with their weight.
It seems that even the ruins of Rome put American architecture to shame. At least, while feeling awestruck by these wonders, I could listen to a live band playing “Hotel California”–WHAT have we done?
Most of our trip was pilgrimage (the rest of it was walking!). Ancient Rome took obelisks from Egypt. This one, in Saint Peter’s Square, was seen by Joseph, by the Jews while leaving Egypt, and by Peter and many other martyrs just before being executed. Now the Cross sits atop. After viewing this, we took the Scavy tour, to St. Peter’s tomb–just under the alter of St. Peter’s; I knelt in prayer there, viewing his bones. QUITE the “denominational headquarters.”
DeeDee and I in front of a church in Assisi. (Thanks to a Fransiscan Sister, Sue, for taking it.)
Our eldest son, Nathanael (right) with me behind him, having dinner with several of the fine seminarians from the D.C. diocese. My wife most often is the one behind the camera. The statue of St. Francis, and praying at his tomb, brought him out of the history books; his testimony still strongly influences the Church–the hippie religious don’t own him!
The Pantheon, formerly a house of demon worship, now a Church. How often this motif played out in Rome!
Sculptural and architectural wonders accent fine gelato ice cream. Lighting candles and praying for the living and the dead also soothes the soul.
Nathanael takes some of his classes here. It’s a block away from the air-B&B we stayed at.
Great places to take the first selfies we’ve ever done! (The Colosseum and The Forum). A Cross now stands where so many Christians became cat food–we’re still, by far, the most persecuted people in the world today. “To live is Christ, to die is gain,” I heard quoted tonight in the recent movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” just before they depicted his beheading.
Plenty of rain in March, but we enjoyed it–not too cold and fewer tourists than in spring or summer.
Attend this Augustine Church each week and all penance is covered! In all, Dee’s iPhone says we walked 90 flights of stairs during our 11 day trip. We walked about 9 miles per day. I really should have made better use of that gym membership for several months before this vacation! (Thanks to Grand Rapids Community College for allowing me a week off, beyond the normal semester break!)
- Scooters and motorcycles rule–my kind of town! 2. By our last day, touring the Borghese Gallery and grounds, with blisters on my feet, we were happy to pay for the children’s train ride! 3. On our last connection home, I fell asleep at the airport–no shame!
Mary is a mom who understands suffering for one’s child. We’re thankful for her intercession.
- When a pope commissions a well, contractors get to the bottom of it. 2. Catholicism never neglects Philosophy. 3. Nothing backward about Medieval streets in my book (and yes, cars drive on them).
Think of all the money Judas could have gone on to save for Christ’s Church, after pointing out wasted perfume spilled on Jesus!
Even the most ancient parishes evoke wonder and reverence.
My wife’s birthday, March 3, was a rainy one; she found the perfect purse in Assisi. With two umbrellas up while waiting outside one shop after the other, I stayed dry. I did get laughed at by passersby, though.
- We bought a special gift for Nathanael at this, our favorite shop in Assisi (top left). 2. In becoming Catholic four years ago, DeeDee and I did “cross the Tiber.” 6. The Queen of Sweden abdicated her throne in becoming Catholic (bottom, third in).
– Our Air-B&B was only E70 per night. We had to book it a couple months in advance. It was nice but rather small and utilitarian–not for entertaining; we didn’t mind this, since we used it only for sleeping, showering, and a eating a light breakfast. Being right in the heart of the city was ideal for touring! If you do want to hang out with family and friends, but not always in a crowded restaurant, you’d rather book a suite with a living room and comfortable furniture.