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.
We went for a grandee cappuccino so we could talk and get to know each other better. Mama was so happy to see us again and she and Susan bonded in a special way. We talked to them about their lives and ours and they invited us to Argentina, as we also invited them to Florida, where they will be traveling next year.
Father invited us to mass on Sat. at 8 AM at the shrine Of Saint John Paul II in St. Peters…..of course, we said yes, feeling blessed for the opportunity to receive communion in another very special place for us.
Father was next taking his mom to the Sistine Chapel, where Johna and Sam were going to go; Susan and I were taking the rest of the day off, so we hailed a cab for them and off the 4 of them went.
Susan and I walked back to the apartment, which took about 25 minutes. Along the way, we decided to spend the night in, so we went to the supermarket for food and supplies. Our choice was for Salad, fresh Pasta, Fresh sausage and some cheese and proscuitto and a good Chianti of course.
We figured they could make that, as it was Johna was great in the kitchen and Sam made a wonderful Sauce or gravy as he calls it.
The kids got home around 4:30. Sam was disappointed with the Sistine Chapel, because he couldn’t take photos, but he said it was magnificent. Susan and I had done that before and the crowds were overwhelming, that’s why we opted out. They said the crowds were the same.
The kids dinner was great, and we caught up on a few things especially a trip report since I am 4 days behind. We enjoyed the evening and went to bed all pretty exhausted from the non-stop pace.
Tomorrow we are up early again.
May the Grace and peace of Christ be with you always,
Susan, Tom and the Kids
Prayer to the Immaculate Conception
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did
preserve her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through
her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with
You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.