Friday, March 13, 2009

The Pope and St. Francis Send Their Best

Like I said, REALLY busy. Plus, we're trying to plan a trip to Sicily for next week on the break between classes and that takes up all our normal internet time. Sorry!

So, let's start with our Rome trip from last Sunday. We were church hoppers and saw so many Jesuit cathedrals and important places that I don't even know where to start. I will just relay my two favorite parts of the day. For Mass that morning we went to an ancient Roman Catholic church that now holds an English Mass every Sunday for the "English-Speaking Pilgrims" call Caravita. It was mind-boggling to hear the Mass held in English after hearing so many Italian ceremonies lately. A visiting Bishop performed the Mass and he was really cute and old. I was all choked up finally being able to sing along with the cantors and understand the Gospel readings. I really, really enjoyed it. Plus, Mozart played the organ there when he was a teenager! After the service they had an aperitivo in the back consisting of mimosas and potato chips. Divine after having woken up at 5am! Then we had a question and answer session with one of the priests from the church. He was very jolly and incredibly well-informed on the history of that space.

My next favorite part was our lunch. We were given about 2 hours to wander and find a place to eat for the afternoon. About 5 of us wandered over to Piazza Navona, a famous oval-shaped piazza where they used to hold chariot races. We sat outside at a table in the sun and had delicious pizzas and paninis. The soda tasted extra good because they actually put ice in our glasses! There was a street musician playing his guitar directly in front of our table and droves of people passing us by. It was somehow really peaceful...probably the blaring sun and surrounding fountains.......

Since that day, we've gone to both The Vatican and Assisi. This is the life.

Ok, I'll move onto the Papal Audience. This day will live in my brain forever. We arrived at St. Peter's Square, and as if that wasn't dumbfounding enough, our little red tickets brought us through the massive crowd, up onto the stage with the Pope. We were literally 100 feet from him once we found our seats. Through some connection, Gordon College got us VIP access to this particular Papal Audience. None of us knew what to say or do or think. People from all over the world surrounded us: French teenagers in front of us, little old Italian women behind us, some sort of Alpine men in top hats and tuxedos to our left and a couple Mafia American men sitting right next to us. Pope Benedict came through the crowd in his little Papal Buggy, waving his Papal Wave. He made his way up to us and gave his homily in Italian. Then, Bishops from various countries got up to "indroduce" the various groups to the Pope. We all went nuts when they said "The Eccumenical contingency from Gordon College in the United States"!! He leaned over and waved right at us...though I think it was more of a blessing than a wave. He gave a small, shorter version of the homily in each language (I think it was about 6 or 7 languages) and greeted the groups. I still can't really believe that we got to do that. See the pictures that will soon be on facebook.

Finally, today we went to Assisi. Everyone should go to Assisi. There is so much silence there, it's a perfect retreat from just about anywhere. We literally sang songs in an olive grove overlooking the valley below and were able to walk up to St. Francis's grave in the bowels of the most beautiful duomo we've seen yet. The streets are spotless and cramped in the most perfect Medieval fashion. Their motto is "Pace et Bene"...look it up. We went to a convent on top of the mountain and had a picnic of fresh bread, meats, cheese, tomato and basil salad and olives. I am rested and happy as I sit here with my ice cold Proseco and bar of dark chocolate.

Life is good.


  1. What a thrill to get a glimpse of all that you are doing! We just want March to be over with, because that means it will be April and we can come see yooz guys and Italy. Although, while I was reading this I thought that the oval piazza you were referring to was part of your lunch...
    So realy, which was cooler the Pope, or McCartney? No, don't tell me, I can't handle the truth!
    We hang around your blog so much, we could actually get arrested for loitering...
    mucho amori you little piezanos!

  2. ...yeah, and we have to wait LONGER!! ...and you'll be all, "Oh we went here" and "we went there" and "wait till you see this" and "Oh I'm SO sorry you missed that because they ONLY do that in April and not in May!"