Saturday, 30 May 2009


Rome is an amazing place, the cosmopolitan centre of the Catholic world, rich in heritage and history. Within just a couple of afternoons it's impossible to do justice to the array of historical and Holy places, so we contented ourselves with the few we thought we could manage.
The other factor to consider was the heat...35 degrees makes quite a difference to the walking pace.
(I must be getting old!).

We stopped here, at the Trevi Fountain for a few minutes.I hadn't known that it was commissioned in the 18th century by Pope Clement XII, to bring water to the local populace.The water comes from the Salone springs, some 20km distant.
We didn't do the 'toss a coin into the fountain, and you'll come back to Rome' thing, but we did have a very good tomato and mozzarella sandwich nearby.

The English College, or 'Venerabile' as it is affectionally known, seems a more modest building, by Roman standards; it is I am told the oldest English Catholic institution, outside England. Founded as a hospice in the 14th century, the Venerabile became a seminary for English students for the priesthood in 1579. Such students knew that they would be called to serve on the 'English Mission' at a time in English history when to be a Catholic priest in England, was to risk exposure, leading to almost certain death on the gallows.
The first college student to lay down his life was Fr Ralph Sherwin, who was hanged at Tyburn.

The Gregorian University, has its origins the Roman College which had been founded by the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola.When the number of students outgrew the capacity of the Roman College, Pope Gregory XIII sought to give it a more suitable base, sponsoring premises in a different location, hence it became known as the Gregorian University.

St Peter's Basilica...........splendid, majestic,beautiful, that just doesn't begin to describe this magnificent place. In fact I'm unable produce an overall description, because St Peter's is visually, spiritually and historically, overwhelming.

Though there was quite a number of tourists inside the Basilica, it never seemed crowded or noisy, and we took the opportunity to pray for various family intentions.
Visiting the tombs of the Popes, in the crypt, we noticed quite a gathering at the tomb of Pope John Paul ll , also at St.Peter's, and we prayed there too.

The Swiss Guard on duty.

We made a short visit to the Sistine Chapel; my thoughts in this Chapel were along the following lines:

is it really only four short years since the Holy Father was elected in this place?

how did the Cardinals arrange their seating?
where did they go to eat/sleep/pray?

how extraordinary it is to be in the same place as that where the election of the Pope takes place, to view the same magnificent paintings as the Cardinals did, to breath the same air

by the will of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, such a momentous decision is made between these walls, I am privileged to visit this Holy place

The 'no photographs rule' is strictly observed in the Sistine Chapel, so, no photographs; but if you google it, there are many sites, with much better quality pictures than I could have produced .

A prayer request:
Please pray for my sister in law who is between treatments for the cancer; thank God, she was relatively well during the few days of our visit.

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