Roamin’ Through History | POSTCARDS FROM ROME 2024

June 11, 2024
  • IMG_1355

Top 5 Highlights of the Week

1. St. Peter’s Basilica
Our first full day in Rome began at the Vatican with a Mass celebrated directly beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican Grottoes where the tombs of many popes are located. Mass was celebrated directly in front of St. Peter’s tomb, and it was an incredible experience to begin our trip to Rome so close to the bones of the Prince of the Apostles. Following this we toured the basilica, learning the history of the building and the meaning behind so much of its magnificent art and architecture.

2. Corpus Christi Procession
On Corpus Christi Sunday we were able to join in the Eucharistic procession that went from St. John Lateran to St. Mary Major. We joined thousands of other lay people, religious sisters and brothers, priests, bishops, and cardinals from all over the world singing and as we made our way down the tree-lined street connecting the two basilicas. It was an incredible sight to look out at a sea of people following the Eucharistic Lord through Rome. When we arrived at St. Mary Major, Pope Francis presided at Benediction.

3. Catacombs of St. Callixtus
On Friday we visited the catacombs of St. Callixtus. These catacombs were once the burial place of 300,000 Christians, 100,000 of whom are believed to be martyrs. These men, women, and children were some of the earliest Christians, and many gave their lives as witnesses to Christ. It was a truly moving experience to walk the labyrinthine passageways of the catacombs, among rows and rows of niches where the bodies of so many Christians once rested until later being moved to various churches around Rome. At the end of the tour, we were able to celebrate Mass in one of the many rooms in the catacombs, remembering the many martyrs who gave their lives in the early days of Christianity.

4. Scala Santa
On our way to tour the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, we made a stop at the Scala Santa which according to tradition are the steps of the palace of Pontius Pilate which Jesus would have climbed multiple times on Good Friday. It is a longstanding custom for pilgrims to climb the stairs (twenty-eight steps in total) on their knees. We were able to do this, reflecting on the Passion of Christ and his immense love as we slowly made our way up the same steps that Christ walked.

5. Roman Forum
Immediately after our arrival in Rome, we hiked over to the ruins of the Roman Forum for a tour. This was the site of the old center of the city of Rome, and it was incredible to reflect on how much of world history was shaped by the events that happened there. Seeing the ancient foundations on which Rome as we know it today would come to be built was a fantastic way to begin our time in the Eternal City where 2,500 year old ruins exist side-by-side with medieval towers and modern highways.

Nathan Folz
Diocese of Evansville