A New Pentecost: Reflections from Rome 2021

June 21, 2021
  • sistine chapel vespers

When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Request whatever I might do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.” (2 Kings 2:9)

Soon after retreat, we were blessed to have Father Jacques Philippe provide us with a series of talks about intimacy with the Lord in mental prayer. The witness of his holiness was tangible, and deeply inspired all of us. In the spirit of Elisha, I asked if he could pray for us to receive a double (or even a triple!) portion of his spirit. He didn’t balk at the request for prayers and concluded his time with us by praying for us. During his prayer, he asked God to make the Rome Experience a new Pentecost for us.

Since those prayers, and moving from Bracciano to Rome, the blessings have continued to pour in. The Lord’s generosity is working on each of our hearts to draw them closer to Him, as we’re struck by His love. He is the Source of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty as we journey on this pilgrimage. We have experienced the Goodness of the Lord through those who have so graciously served us on this trip. True standouts have been the Nashville Dominican Sisters, Bridgettine Sisters, and Caroline Beecher as they all have been very attentive to making sure our travel experience, accommodations, and meals have been delightful, all the while exuding the joy of the Lord. We have been inspired by hearing many stories of the lives of the martyrs who have boldly witnessed to the truth even through some agonizing deaths. Their uncompromising defense of the truth of the Gospel was only possible through their reliance on the Source of Truth who strengthened their faith in their suffering. We’ve been captivated by the Lord’s beauty in the architecture, paintings, sculptures, and mosaics in the basilicas, churches, and chapels we have been able to visit. One of these wonderful moments occurred when we prayed evening prayer as the lone visitors in the Sistine Chapel.

We desire to hear His voice, witness His beauty in the Eternal City, and receive from the priests, professors, tour guides in the Rome Experience. We have been blown away by the generosity of the Lord and all those who have been facilitating this trip! May our hearts be drawn ever closer to the Lord who knows no limits to the portions of His love He desires to pour into our lives!

Anthony Sanitato
Archdiocese of Cincinnati