Are you kidding me?
This is the ultimate Mass in the ultimate church.
And I did it with my dad on Father's Day.
To Chris, Buffy, and Lindsey: you can all suck it because I win today! And I didn't put your name on it...
It was quite the experience.
So far we have traveled to and from our destinations on a big coach (picture DC bus) with a fearless driver, Samuellae (sam-well-eigh). What to an American looks to be a four lane road is actually a ten lane road. There are hardly any lights, signs, and no lane markings. Sam is a beast of a driver and got us where we needed to go. He chain smokes during any break and I love him!!
Today we had to take Rome's subway. For the most part it's pretty clean however it's lined with beggars, bums, and illegal vendors.
Once we get to the Vatican we go through security to get into St. Peter's.
This chapel is located at the very back of the Basilica. From far away it looks small and it wasn't until we sat down that I realized that St. Patricks entire church could fit inside this "smaller" chapel. Just look at the art behind the alter. These pictures don't do it justice.
I looked at Max and said, "Can you believe we are having Mass in St. Peter's? It's a dream come true." And I could tell he agreed completely.
The music alone brought tears to my eyes, the organ was powerful and beautiful. Then the priests, Cardinals, and alter boys start down the center aisle towards the alter. I didn't actually count but I'd say there were between 50-60 people in that processional.
There is no doubt that you could feel the Holy Spirit in this place. There were so many different people, from different countries, speaking different languages. We all worship a little different, wear different clothes, pray in different ways. Yet here we all were with one thing in common- The Lord.
I took Communion from a Cardinal.
This is the first Mass I've celebrated in Latin. The majority was sung or chanted. I understood nothing but being that the Catholic Church celebrates Mass the same everywhere, I knew what was going on and when to kneel, to sit, and respond in prayer. I tried to respond in Latin but it was too hard so I switch to English. I'm not sure Jesus cares how we pray, just that we do pray.
After Mass, we quickly headed out to St. Peter's Square where we stood among thousands of people, all waiting for Pope Francis to appear in his apartment window to speak to the congregation.
This is where Pope Francis gives his blessing. This is where he blessed the rosaries some of you will get when we return home.
I can't wait to give/mail them to you. I hope they give you peace and comfort when you pray the rosary. And if you don't pray the rosary I hope the blessings upon these beads watch over you and your home.
Once we all cleared out, we had a quick lunch in the Vatican. Pizza was the fastest and most efficient for us.
I treated my dad to a cappuccino for Father's Day!
Speaking of Father's Day I'd like to take a quick moment to talk about the greatest father, the best of the best- Dan.
The minute I met you I thought you were just like a big kid and I knew you would make a perfect father to our children. You have stepped up to the plate as much as I have. You were never secondary rather my partner in raising the boys. Every night that I was up, you were right there with me because you felt guilty for sleeping! I know our boys look up to you, as they should. You are an honorable man doing a respectable job. You are chivalrous towards me and have taught our boys to be kind towards girls- something that has always been important to me. You've taught them that there is a time to fight and that it's ok to cry. You've showed them that losing makes you stronger. You have shown them how to laugh at themselves. Above all you are showing them how to be a good man, one to be proud of.
I can't think of another person I'd rather raise a family with.
I love you. Happy Father's Day.
After the Vatican we went to Ostia Antica. This city was founded during the 7th century B.C. The ruins we see today are from the 3rd century B.C.
I can't believe we are walking on these streets!
The ruins of this city are beautiful.
Ostia sits at the mouth of the Tiber River and was used as a port into Rome.
Here are some pictures of our tour:
So, what will you boys be drinking tonight? How about a shot of culture and history?!
Imagine sitting here with random people taking care of your business while discussing your business. There was no toilet paper back then, instead you could purchase a sponge on a stick to wipe your ass. Imagine the cheapass beside you that passes on the sponge as they enter the bathroom. I bet if there was candy crush back then then there would finally be a line to the men's bathroom.
Dinner tonight was at another "off the beaten path" restaurant.
Dinner tonight was bread, lasagna, and salad.
We also had some type of potato ball (like hush puppies) and bruschetta, by the way it's pronounced bru-sket-a not bru-shet-a. That's legit people.
And of course, wine.
For dessert we had gelato.
We have come to an end of our tour in Rome. Tomorrow we will get up early and head to the airport.
I'm so grateful to St. Patrick's and the opportunity they provided to Max and myself. Learning about our faith, how it all began, and how it's changed over time is something Max got to experience. Walking into Cathedrals, walking along ancient roads that Julius Caesar once walk on, seeing the remains of the aqua ducts- all of it has made such an impact on these kids, learning in a way no classroom can provide.
I might post a final "travel day" blog. Or I might make it through customs without a body search and find sleep on the plane resulting in an uneventful and peaceful day.
Who am I kidding, stay tuned for travel day events.