For any first time visitor of Rome the prospects of taking in as much as possible even in a basic tour package can be overwhelming. As the Scottish couple I was sitting next to at the papal audience said, scanning their map, “Where do you start?!”
Rome’s cathedral, which, by the way, is St. John Lateran, not St. Peter’s;
then St. Peter’s, with a tour of the Scavi, or excavations below, where Peter is reputedly buried;
and finally St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, where Paul the Apostle’s tomb was recently unearthed.
Because of the breathless pace of the visits, one Cooperator grieved, “I lost my prayer-life in Rome.” A common enough sentiment. In fact, as the saying goes, If you want to pray don’t go to Rome! On the other hand, her sister-in-law remarked on the sheer number of holy places: “I don’t have to go to church now for the next ten years!”
We stopped at the Church of the Holy Cross and the Church of the Holy Stairs, which some of our pilgrims climbed on their knees in honor of Christ’s Passion. Tour guide Tiziana, a native of the city, was a font of knowledge about all things Roman. Guessing our skepticism about the relics, she headed us off: “Don’t ask me if it’s true. I don’t know. What I do know is that today we can get on plane and in a matter of hours we can arrive here. But centuries ago people made great sacrifices to come. Their faith is the real miracle.”
|Creation, Church of |
Sì, the food in Rome—as everywhere else—was ottimo! And of course, we couldn’t skip a little shopping in between, including Soprani’s, “the Walmart of religious articles,” as one of us dubbed it. We were even treated to the drama of a genuine Italian traffic altercation. No tour would be complete without one.
|Fr. Fernando, from the Church of the|
First Martyrs of Rome, has friended
several U.S. Daughters on Facebook.
Blessings on your Thanksgiving Day!