Friday, December 20, 2013

Papa Please Preach ~ My Trip to Rome

Papa Please Preach ~ My Trip to Rome

After a month of computer glitches and fixes…I’m finally able to share about a little trip to Italy we took this fall.

I was not raised Catholic but became Catholic after getting married. It was a personal choice for me. So being able to see Rome was such a joy!

One of the great things about being an expat is meeting other people in your same situation. It’s the best way to find out where to go, where to get off the beaten path, which museums to go to and how to avoid the long lines.  And they are usually full of ideas on how to do as inexpensive as possible.

Here are some things I learned and enjoyed about Roma~

-There’s a reason there’s a shortage of Priests in the world…. They’re all in Rome. I would say the old saying… “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a”… Priest or Nun, but that doesn’t sound very nice… so I’ll just say there are a lot in Rome.

-God is everywhere. What if God was one of us? What would you say?

- If you are a single, Swiss, Catholic, high school educated, Swiss military trained male over the height of 5’8” and between the ages of 19-30 you have a chance to become a Papal Swiss Guard.

- Vatican City is its own state within the city of Rome. Day or night this vibrant area lives and breathes the beauty of God.

The Vatican at night

The Sistine Chapel is truly amazing. Guards or workers tell everyone… no pictures and to keep quiet as people look around in awe. It was wall to wall of people staring up. Looking up to the beautiful ceiling painted by Michelangelo? Looking up to God for the plea for a prayer? 

The ceiling in the museum leading toward the Sistine Chapel

Right before you go into the chapel

No pictures? Ok…. Click

-As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” But the Roman’s do know how to build to impress!

-Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica was on my bucket list.

 People visiting need to visit their website before going because there are do’s and don’ts. You must be dressed appropriately and talking is kept to a minimum. But that’s hard to remember as you enter and everywhere you turn are amazing works of art that look like they belong in a museum. You sometimes just want to share with the person next to you what you are thinking or feeling. We wandered around looking and listening to our walking guide explains to us what each piece was. Then we checked for mass times. We had a few spare minutes so we found the gift store and bought a few memorable pieces for our children. We then gathered behind an area in front of the alter where mass would be held. People were already a few rows deep just look to see what was going on. I stepped up to a man standing at the gate and asked if mass was available to everyone. He said “Yes, but it’s in Italian.” Not a problem I said and we stepped in to find seats. It really wasn’t crowded because I think some didn’t realize they could come in. I’m pretty sure the gate that was about waist high was just there to keep people from milling around during mass.

Mass for me was an unexpected emotional experience. I attend mass every week and have attended mass in most places I’ve traveled to. One of my favorites was in Yellowstone National Park. But as I got down on my knees to pray for my family and anyone I could think of I couldn’t help the tears that spilled from my eyes. And I can say that mass in Italian is beautiful. I only understood a bit but that’s ok. It was a familiar part of my being and I thank God I was able to be there.

-Pope Francis~ I love how there are so many different religions in the world and I respect that everyone has their own way to pray or not if they so choose. For me.. I need prayer. When things go right or wrong in my life or the world around me, it is faith in my God that helps me get through.

With the new day of our Pope Francis I am so ever grateful to a man who answered a call from God to lead his people. To me this humble, kind, caring, loving, charismatic man is just what my heart needs to help me to keep peace in my heart and life.

I didn’t get to see the Pope while visiting Rome, but I know he was there. Seeing isn’t believing. 

Pope Francis.. This American Girl sends thanks, gratitude and prayers to you and the people you pray for. Papa please keep preaching your words of love and kindness. 

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