Looking Forward | Reflections Post-Rome 2021
As I reflect on my time in Rome, many wonderful memories come to mind. Some of them are visiting and praying in the major basilicas, taking classes at Santa Croce, hanging out with my brother seminarians, and having conversations with the Bridgettine Sisters. As my time in Rome was coming to an end, I did my best to spend the last week building relationships with my brother seminarians and with the sisters. Indeed, this program gave me the opportunity to experience the Church in a universal way since the seminarians were from different dioceses across the United States and the sisters from different countries around the world. It was a beautiful gift to see how each of them reflect the faith based on his/her own cultural-social background.
In terms of the most significant insights from my experience in Rome, I would like to mention two in particular. The first one is about having deepened my understanding of the beauty of our Catholic faith through the witness of the martyrs and the various expressions of art. The Eternal City is the home of the greatest apostles of faith upon which the Church was built. Each of these apostles finished the race, kept the faith, and handed it down faithfully. As a future priest, I will do my best to honor their lives and to introduce them to my parishioners to propagate the priceless faith they handed down to us. The second insight is about my introduction to the so-called “Bible of the Poor.” I found this aspect of early Christian art fascinating and inspiring because the various mosaics and statues that adorned the major basilicas were instrumental in the spreading of the Gospel in the first centuries. As a future priest, I think that I would have a great opportunity to introduce the faith to so many people by using this same method.
Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity of having visited Rome. My love for the universal Church and my commitment to Christian discipleship grew deeper. I will always remember The Rome Experience and take on those memories and experiences to facilitate my work as a disciple of Jesus Christ. After this experience, I found myself closer to the Petrine office and the Magisterium. Now, I have a deeper appreciation for these offices as well as a greater understanding of their inner relationship. Finally, I enjoyed having participated in this program and having been impacted by the spirituality of St. Josemaria, and I look forward to seeing the priestly fruits that this experience will bear in my current seminary studies as well as in my future ministry as a priest.
Juan Carlos Altamirano Herrera
Diocese of Green Bay