I am typing on this tablet, still trying to figure out how some of the details work. I have several partial posts in my drafts. I really need to catch up. I can't believe this is our last night in Rome. It has been spectacular! I have tried to capture some of the beauty, but there is no way to give it justice. We still have 10 days left on this vacation, just different cities. I am sure we will love them too.
Bruce used the real camera again to get good pictures. When we get home, hopefully I will update this post.
We started the day with Mass. No wandering around this week! There was a Mass in English at Chiesa Santo Spiritu (Church of the Holy Spirit) in Sassia, a neighborhood near St. Peter's. Sister Ann Marie from the Pontifical North American College invited us. Turns out, it is a pilgrimage church for the Year of Faith. It is not wheelchair accessible, but with help, I got in. Thank goodness! It was GORGEOUS! Another beautiful church with paintings and sculptures...so much to see! On one side, near where we sat, was the tabernacle, set in the Divine Mercy shrine for Rome. It also contained a relic of St. Faustina, whose visions of Jesus gave us the Divine Mercy chaplet and the beautiful image of Christ that so many of us love. The opposite side had a shrine of Blessed John Paul II. He really taught the world about the Divine Mercy devotions, and established the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. In fact, in April of 2014, John Paul will be canonized as a Saint in the Catholic Church on Divine Mercy Sunday. Wish we could come back for that! (There was another mass right after the one we attended, so we did not get pictures. I am uploading some images I found online.)
Today's unexpected highlight was the fact that I had the opportunity to proclaim the first reading at Mass! Sister asked Bruce, but he stumbles when reading out loud in front of people. But he suggested me, and we figured out a way to get me to the pulpit. It felt very special, and I was grateful to participate in that way.
After Mass, we walked all the way to the part of Rome with the Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum. Much of this area is not accessible to wheelchairs (HUGE cobblestone on the hill to get up Palatine Hill.) Silver lining of the day: much of the Forum was visible from public sidewalks, and because only part of the Colosseum was accessible, there was no cost. Yay!
It was remarkable to see such ancient sites, especially the Colosseum, knowing that many early Christians were martyred there. I have often said that if the government told us at Women's Care Clinic that we had to refer clients for abortion, that I would rather go to jail. I truly mean that. But it is difficult to imagine being faced with a certain and horrible death. Could I hold on to my convictions? I pray that I don't ever have to find out, but if it ever comes to that, may God give me the strength to remain faithful.
We walked all the way back to the hotel, stopping in the piazza to get some gelato. The miles of cobblestone wore us both out! I took a nap, and then we sat in the hotel courtyard eating and enjoying the perfect weather and scenery. A cute young girl was taking candles from several tables so she could see better while coloring. It was fun to watch her, and witness such innocent joy. Kids are precious everywhere!
It will be hard to leave Rome, but there are other things to see! I will post from Assisi!