Wow, these past two weeks have been packed and I have had no time to write. There will be many less pictures directly in this post, so be sure to check out the linked albums. Besides having four hours of further Italian classes each day, I’ve had the chance to visit and experience a lot of cool things. There are four that I want to share: Mass and Visit to St. Peter’s, Angelus with the Pope, Trip to Assisi and finally a Scavi Tour.
On Friday 18th, we celebrated mass in the crypt of St. Peter’s among the tombs of the Popes. This is also quite close to the tomb of Saint Peter. It was moving to participate in holy mass, so close to Peter and so many of his successors. After mass we received a toured of the basilica. You can see all the pictures here. The church is truly stunning in size and beauty. We where at St. Peter’s early in the morning, so the light coming into the church made it exceptional nice and less crowded.
The Sunday after we celebrated mass at St. Peter’s, we as a seminary community walked to St. Peter’s Square to pray the angelus with the Pope. After the angelus, he normally address the crowds with a reflection and then greets some of the groups present. My new class at NAC was one of the groups to be greeted by the Pope. You can watch it in here:
This past weekend I was in Assisi for fraternity weekend. You can view all my photos from the weekend in the album here. Basically it was a weekend for us to get to know each other as a class and meet with potential spiritual directors. We had the pleasure to celebrate mass in the basilica of St. Clara, St. Francis, and Maria of the Angels.
It was interesting seeing Assisi after being in Siena. It was also amazing how peaceful Assisi was. One of the guys commented how he wasn’t surprised Francis and Clara are saints because of the beauty and tranquility of the city and landscape. It is a place that invites prayer.
As I’m wont to do, I wondered around the city church hoping. There were, as one would expect, many churches to visit. The basilica of St. Clara became my go to spot to pray for the weekend. I was surprised to find in my wanderings the castle Rocca Maggiore overlooking the city. I ended up visiting the castle several times over the weekend. What can I say, I have a soft spot for forts. It also happened that during our time at Assisi, there was a market in the main piazza selling various trinkets. The added twist was the all the vendors were dressed in medieval garb.
On Monday I had the opportunity to go on a Scavi tour. The Scavi tours are a tour of the roman necropolis underneath St. Peter’s, where St. Peter was and is still buried. The story of the excavation of the necropolis and eventual discovery of St. Peter’s bones is incredible fascinating and dramatic. I highly recommend looking into it. At the end of the tour we had the opportunity to venerate the bones of St. Peter in this little side room that has a view of the place where he is buried. If you look carefully you can see the jaw bone of Peter. The jaw bone calls to mind Peter’s profession of Jesus as the Christ and the challenge for all of us, but especially those of us aspiring to the priesthood, to boldly proclaim that same profession that Jesus is the Christ.