I made it to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. It is hard to describe how I felt. I sort of felt like I was at home but more than that. I felt like I was not alone – even though in many ways I am alone here in Rome – and that I belonged there. It was a very beautiful experience just to be there and to not only see but to sense the universality of the Church and some connection with all her members past and present. I spent a fair bit of time just wandering through the square and walking under the collinades (there is a beautiful breeze there). I am not certain what I was thining though as it was a very hot day and I did not have a hat! It won’t take me very long I think to look like one of the Romans!
Once I made it inside I tried to make it around to the various side altars of St. Peter’s and I was able to pray at the altars dedicated to Pope St. John Paul II and Pope St. John XXIII. I was grateful to see a number of people praying in these places. I also happend upon the relics of Pope St. Gregory the Great in another side altar! I immediately thought of St. Gregory’s Parish in Holden whose patronage the parish there is entrusted to and I knelt down and prayed for the parish and the people of God there. It was a moving experience being able to do that. May his intercession benefit the people of God in St. Gregory’s Pairsh and lead them to ever greater holiness and joy!
Finally, I decided to walk up the 551 steps to the cupola or dome of St. Peter’s. It was my first little mountain climb since arriving in Europe! As I climbed all I could think of was of a friend of mine who apparently almost died (exaggerating a little here) because of the number of steps. They get narrower and narrower as you get closer to the top and it was quite an amazing thing to see both the dome up close and to look down upon the baldecino and the altar from above. Once at the top a person can see Rome in every direction and it is wonderful to behold. I do not know what time the cupola opens but I think that it would be wonderful to be up there for either sunrise or sunset. I hope to be able to do that sometime. I will leave you with a picture of the cupola. Addiamo!