I mentioned how some folks had been confused, thinking that I was truly on the pilgrimage to Italy when, in fact, I am home in Chicago, leading a VIRTUAL pilgrimage here on my blog! To confuse matters more, now I’m happy to pass along reports from a Joe who is ACTUALLY on the pilgrimage in Italy! His name is Dr. Joe Bound, and he is the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI. He has been kind enough to send the following updates from Rome! Thanks, Dr. Joe!
I hope all is going well for you. Sorry for the delay in getting info to you. It has been a busy three days. Here is a blow by blow by day.
Monday, Sept. 23
Left Appleton, WI, for Rome, Italy. Had to make connections in Detroit and Paris on our way to Rome. Smooth flights.
Tuesday, Sept. 24
Arrived in Rome around noon. Took a car to the Cardinal St. Peter Hotel which is about 1.5 miles from the Vatican on the west side of the city. Once settled into the hotel we walked down to St. Peter’s Square stopping for gelato on the way. Then we went down the Via Della Conciliazone east towards downtown Rome going over the Ponte Vittorio Emanuale II bridge. Following along the Corso Vittorio Emanuale we had a chance to visit the Church of St. Andrew and the Gesu Church. We were really impressed with the art work and architecture of these churches. Next we went north a few blocks to the Pantheon which is an ancient Roman government/temple that was converted into a church shortly after Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire. One of the most interesting features of this building is that the roof has a large round hole in it, allowing the rain water to fall into the church and drain out through some holes in the floor. Our next visit was to the church where St. Catherine of Siena is buried. Following this we went to the Piazza Navona where Sister Jacqueline Spaniola, my wife Linda, and I had our first dinner in Rome. needless to say it was delicious. We then walked from there back to our hotel with another gelato stop on the way.
Wednesday, September 25
After breakfast at the hotel we took the Metro to Termini Station where we took a train to Orvieto. On the train we met a very nice young Byzantine Catholic woman from Romania who spoke great English. She is studying education in Rome and was on her way to visit her mom who is currently working near Udine, Italy. Once we arrived in Orvieto we had a guy on a motorbike help us find a good restaurant for lunch. He didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Italian but somehow we communicated to him that we were looking for a place for lunch. He slowly lead us to the restaurant which we really appreciated.
After lunch we took the funicular train to the top of the mountain where the old town is located. Once on top we went to the famous Duomo which is the site of a major Eucharistic miracle. The two side chapels in this cathedral are very impressive. The one to the left of the main altar tells the complete story of the miracle in frescos on all of the walls. The other Chapel to the right of the main altar has depictions of heaven, hell and purgatory along with pictures of the prophets, apostles, and saints.
After visiting the Duomo we walked along the winding streets back to the funicular. Along the way we saw many shops selling ceramic items made in the area. Linda managed to purchase a really nice syrup pitcher, contributing to the local economy. We then took the train back to Rome and ended up meeting a young man who works in public administration in Tuscany. He was on his way to Rome for a workshop and used this opportunity to visit with us in order to use his English. We arrived back in Rome late so we ate in the train station and then jumped on the Metro back to our hotel.
(more to come!)