Welcome Home Class of 2015!
On July 1, The Rome Experience Class of 2015 returned home from their six-week journey to France, Italy and Spain.
As we received updates from the seminarians throughout the program, we were happy to learn about their spiritual retreat; pilgrimages to numerous churches and shrines; enriching academic courses; cultural excursions to ancient ruins, museums, and memorials; and their exploration of the local flavors (i.e. gelato) and traditions.
To summarize this year’s experience, we share with you an excerpt from a reflection by Stephen Kenyon (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon):
“It is amazing to think that every night we get that chance ‘to see Peter’ as we say our Rosary looking out from the balcony of the place we are staying onto the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, the church literally built upon the rock of St. Peter. And in a way that is what it means to be in Rome: ‘to see’, to see Peter, the Saints, and the Church. (…)
“To come to Rome is to see the Church in a truly unique way. In just a few weeks we have seen twenty-centuries of history, art, and Saints. On Tuesday a group of us went to the church of St. Laurence, where (along with St. Laurence and St. Stephen) St. Justin Marytr, a Saint of the second century, is buried. And then on Friday the whole group went a little bit outside of Rome to visit the tomb of St. Maria Gorreti, a Saint of the twentieth century. What about the centuries in between? Well, stop in almost any church and chances are there will be a Saint buried under or just above one of the altars. There is something truly awe-inspiring about praying in front of a Saint’s remains, and it is probably one of the things I will miss most when we return home. When you stand in the city of Rome that verse from the letter to the Hebrews comes alive: here we physically are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, the Saints who have paved the way before us and now assist us as we follow in their footsteps.”