Yesterday was another day filled with many blessings! We got to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, and the Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Santa Maria Maggiore is believed to have the actual manger which Jesus was lain in when he was an infant. San Giovanni in Laterano is the church where the Holy Father presides as the bishop of Rome. Santa Maria and San Giovanni are two of the four papal churches in Rome.
We were also able to climb the Santa Scala. This staircase is believed to be the actual stairs which Jesus ascended on his way to Pontius Pilot. They are covered with wood now, but you can still put your hands through and touch the original marble. These stairs can only be ascended on your knees – it really helped get us in the Lenten mindset!
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is believed to carry parts of the real cross that Christ died upon! It was such a blessing to be able to visit the beautiful churches and feel so close to God.
Today, it is Sunday! For Mass, we joined Kathleen’s friend, Matthew, at the NAC (North American College) for Mass. It was absolutely beautiful! As would be expected, it was filled with seminarians and priests. We appreciated attending Mass in English and it seemed like we were transported to Heaven for a bit! The reverence in which the Mass was prayed and the absolutely amazingly gorgeous music really helped us pray and remind us of why we were here in the first place.
The view from the top of the NAC
Traveling really takes a lot of energy and sometimes it is really easy to get discouraged and frustrated. All that is needed sometimes is for us to refocus on God, which an event like a beautiful Mass or a majestic church can do for us. It is then that we are reminded of God’s breathtaking beauty and how much we desire Him and hope to grow closer to Him through this trip.
After Mass, we went to St. Peter’s square to pray the angelus with Pope Francis! This was another absolutely beautiful experience. Although the Holy Father was very far above us and we could not see him so very well, it was amazing to be able to pray with him there. We could feel his fatherly love and holiness pouring down upon us. It was an experience that is difficult to explain, but all we can say is that our Holy Pontiff is a vey holy man!
After the angelus, we enjoyed a rustic pie – it’s a pizza dish that has a top crust on it, forming a pizza pie, hence the name. 😉 It was delicious! Kathleen ordered one with prosciutto and cheese in it, and Ivana ordered one with tomato and mozzarella.
Well, that’s it for now!