Today we visited the Vatican. The morning started with a quick tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, with simply an overwhelming number of beautiful works of art throughout the space.
Fr. Renninger and Fr. Prince celebrated Mass at the tomb of Saint Pope John Paul the II. In the midst of noise from the crowds, workmen setting up for the weekend events, and even a vacuum cleaner on wheels, we were reminded that Jesus did not come to a perfect world, but rather a world that is constantly in turmoil. Yet, the Mass was peaceful and prayerful in this very special place of beauty and history.
After the Mass, Nino our guide showed us the many treasures of the Basilica. He recounted the story of Michelangelo’s Pieta (see http://www.italianrenaissance.org/2012/07/23/michelangelos-pieta/ being sent to the US World’s Fair in New York in 1964, a very special memory for me. I visited the world’s fair, and did see this masterpiece on display in New York. It was great to see it again!
Small groups of us then were able to tour the Scavi. This is an excavation of the earth beneath the Basilica where the burial sites of the first and second centuries were uncovered. We were able to view and pray by the bones of Saint Peter. Truly an amazing place! For additional information, see: (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/uffscavi/documents/rc_ic_uffscavi_doc_gen-information_20090216_en.html)
With some free time in the afternoon, we tried out some local pizza. I am spoiled and will not be happy with school pizza!
This evening we spent at a local restaurant enjoying incredible food and drink. Our waiter spoke very little English, and after a lot of laughter, we learned he was from Egypt. I have a new appreciation for the people of the world and their unique humor and graciousness.