Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Thursday June 9 (Day 14) Rome

Yesterday I forgot to mention the Mass we attended at Saint John Lantern, which was a surprise for us………when we walked by a side chapel and the Gospel was being read, and it was in English!  We  went in and everyone smiled at us, making us feel like part of their  group.  After mass, the two priests came over to talk to us and find out where we were from.  They were English, from Sussex, and everyone in their group shook our hands or gave a gentle hug.  It was great because many groups don’t like strangers. 

Anyway!!!  Another early day to get to the Vatican and get thru the Holy Doors as pilgrims, since we had registered.  We  didn’t realize that we had to walk almost one mile away from the Vatican and then  walk back.  We found that out yesterday, so when we got to Saint  Peters, I showed our pass and we got in the Pilgrims line.  Security was quicker and everyone got to go thru the doors regardless.  The same procedure was at the other 3 major Basilicas  as well.  We did visit them all on different  days.

If you have never been to St. Peters, when you enter you immediately are in front of the Pieta created by Michangelo, it never gets old.  Sam and Johna were very overwhelmed as we toured the Basilica and when we finally found the tomb of St. John Paul II.  It was right past the Pieta, but blocked off for mass when we came in.  Another area we came to was blocked off for confessions, so Susan decided to go for all the indulgences we had gotten. We waited for her…..and waited…..and…..waited. Only kidding, but the only the last confessional was for English.

We spent almost 2 hours here until the crowds became impossible to move or even enjoy the moment.  The lines for the  tombs of the Popes was very long and we were contemplating going when we ran into Mama, or Rachel, the mother of the Priest, Father Gabriel, who allowed us  to celebrate with him at Bethlehem in the Manger alcove.  Divine  intervention, we thought……how unlikely was this?

By the way we were at the  toilet doors, waiting for Sam, where we have met other great people at different toilets around the world, who became good friends, Like Fr. Tomasz, Cardinal Dziwisz’ Personal secretary, whom we plan to see next week. Fr. Gabriel came to meet his mother and was also shocked that we had run into each other. 

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