“Top Five” 2016: Week Four
There are many things that I could write about as being noteworthy on The Rome Experience, but I have limited myself to the list as follows.
1.) The Seven Church Tour
St. Philip Neri saw a need for an activity that is both spiritually and humanly enriching which would provide for the youth a way to avoid the mischievous behavior that was common in their day. He developed this roughly twenty-mile trek which begins at St. Peters Basilica and winds through the narrows streets ultimately ending at St. Mary’s in Trastevere. The tour was broken down in two parts: there was a morning section that contained four churches (St. Peters, St. Mary Major, St. Lawrence and St. John Lateran) and the afternoon section which was comprised of the remaining three (St. Sebastian, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary in Trastevere).
There was a special mass being celebrated by Pope Francis the morning of our tour, so we were not able to go inside, instead we went to Santo Spirito, which was a neighboring church wherein we could do our prayer to begin the pilgrimage. Though it was a lengthy walk, and slightly painful at times, it was a truly rewarding experience.
I am the first to admit that the idea of “summer school”, even in the context of being in Rome, was not a thrilling concept. However, the courses that have been presented to us and the teachers we have had have been phenomenal. For the most part, we have been studying the history of Rome and the roots of the Petrine Office as it has been handed down through Tradition, as well as the proper understanding of priestly identity and mission.
We still have a little over a week of classes left and I greatly look forward to learning more about the rich history of the Church, this city, and the ministry that has been built on Peter, Prince of the Apostles.
A crucial aspect of formation to the priesthood and future priestly ministry is the cultivation of authentic fraternity among brother priests to help them in their struggles, offer advice in difficult situations, and recreate.
Probably one of the most enjoyable elements of the trip for me so far has been being able to take little trips with the other guys and see local sights, make day trips or just enjoy a coffee and simply enjoy Rome. Ultimately, these are the men we will be “in the trenches” with as we move forward in formation and in to our future ministry. Therefore, it is great to get to spend time with them, and get to know them and hear their stories.
Being able to walk around the streets of Rome you are able to see so much. One of the things that is particularly striking to me is simply the fact that there are so many little shrines, icons and religious paintings all over the place. They could be on the side of a building, built in to a wall, or on the ceiling of a tunnel. One can expect to be surprised when the next one will be spotted.
I am sure it goes without saying, but the food in Rome is quite good. There are little cafes everywhere in the city and usually reasonably priced, especially if you know where to look. Pasta and pizza are the two main staples of the cuisine in Rome, but even for those with food allergies, they have many options and all of them are quite good.
The Rome Experience Class of 2016
Archdiocese of Cincinnati