July 3, 2017
  • re-2017-orvieto

Top Five Highlights (Week of June 18):

1. Finishing Dr. Marshall’s class on the importance of Rome in the Catholic Church was a definite highlight. Seeing how the Book of Daniel hints at Rome’s importance and then how Peter eventually leads the Church from the city was so interesting, and I was surprised I had not heard these explanations sooner.

2. Meeting Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who works as a close advisor to both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Hearing about his daily life and how he is in communication with both [of them] daily made it all the more apparent how blessed we were to meet him. After the visit, he invited us to see the Sistine and St. Paul Chapels.

3. Visiting the main house of Opus Dei located in Rome. It is an incredible building of numerous levels with several underground—it is beautiful and offers a great spiritual place to retreat to.

4. Traveling to Orvieto and Assisi. Both cities were a great experience, seeing as they are located on top of very large hills. The main churches in both towns were quite beautiful, rivaling the best in Rome in their own way, especially the façade of the Duomo di Orvieto, which houses a corporal from one of the famous Eucharistic miracles.

5. Attending a Papal Audience and seeing how many people attend these in the burning sun shows how devoted the faithful are to the Pope. It is a great sign for the Church.


This week held many great experiences for my spiritual growth. Witnessing a Papal Audience with Pope Francis was a sign of the Church’s devotion to the Vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, so present in this historic city. Being able to get some insight into his and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s lives also gave us some insights into our Church and the way it functions. Getting a closer look at the spirituality of Opus Dei when visiting their home here in Rome and learning more about their founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, and also celebrating his feast day. And finally, seeing more of the history of the faith in this country through Orvieto and Assisi has added to an incredible week for me to reflect on as I continue in my formation.

Elijah Puthoff

The Rome Experience Class of 2017
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mount St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

[About the Photo: Seminarians from the Rome Experience Class of 2017 in Orvieto. Courtesy of Matthew Pearson.]