What a week this has been. We have had the opportunity to visit so many church’s with Father Bob as our tour guide. In each church he has talked about the art and what it represents. The history of the church itself and it’s founders patron Saint. We have learned about so many different Saints and their works. We have learned about church history, the dogma of the church, it’s structure, and cannon law. All with a good bit of humor thrown in for good measure. It has been such a fun and fascinating experience. To stand in front of a painting and talk about what it was trying to teach those who could not read was at times mind blowing.
On Saturday we attended an audience with Pope Frances at St. Peters square. It was primarily for the volunteers for the canonization of Mother Teresa so there were only about 10,000 people there. While that may seem like a lot of people it was actually very relaxed and did not seem crowded at all. We were able to get very close (with in reason) to the Holy Father. He talked about acts of Mercy and ways that we can all work toward helping our fellow man. On Sunday we attended a private Mass in a Bishops apartment, in a building that belongs to the Holy See. The bishop is a friend of Father Bob and he has been staying there while the Bishop is on vacation. After Mass we attended the canonization of Saint Teresa of Calcutta at St. Peters Square. Needless to say there was a sea of humanity. Being able to share the experience with people from around the world was amazing. People came from every part of the globe to celebrate the life and sainthood of Mother Teresa. Her ministry has helped, and continues to help many of the poorest of the poor throughout the world. The Mass was said in many different languages so we all got bits and pieces of the big picture. It was really amazing to be able to learn more about the works of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and the Sisters of Mercy.
Yesterday we topped off our trip with a visit to Assisi, which is about a 2 hour train ride from Rome. When I converted to Catholicism I choose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi as my baptismal name. So this was extra special. Again we had the best tour guide you could ask for. Father Bob spent the entire day describing St. Clare’s church and the church of St. Francis. Assisi is a hill town that is absolutely beautiful. At the very top of the town is an ancient castle called Roca Maggiore. The church of St. Clare is near the center of the town, while the church of St. Francis is just on the outskirts of town. Both churches had multiple levels with frescoes on the walls and the ceilings depicting the lives of the saints of the church. We visited Roca Maggiore after the churches. It was a long day but really a great day. We left Rome at 8am and did not get back to Rome until 9pm.
Today is our last day in Rome. Beth and I plan on just taking an easy day. Doing a few last things on our list, having a nice dinner and preparing for our flight home tomorrow.