Monday, March 30, 2009


Post Script on our Weekend in Roma…

Sunday, March 29, 2009 Church Day in Roma

The time change for spring occurred in Europe last night so we lost an hour overnight. Slept very well and enjoyed breakfast before walking the four blocks to the 10 am Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore. This is one of four churches in Rome that are officially considered as being “in the Vatican” when you are inside of them. We must have had at least three dozen priests in the sanctuary during the Mass including some Bishops and a Cardinal. The choir was behind the altar and I think they were also clergymen but not sure as we couldn’t see them; but what angelic voices!

We found an Internet Shop and by using a flash drive we posted our journals for our first couple of days in Rome; again checked emails and then headed for the notorious Metro Station that is located underneath the Termini train station. Nearly everyone I know who has traveled on the Metro in Rome has an experience to share about the pickpockets. We figured out the machine and purchased one way tickets good for seventy five minutes on the Metro. Being Sunday, the travelers were fewer and we only saw one gypsy girl with a baby and toddler. When we saw her I backed against Mary who had a seat so we were well protected from any potential pickpocket. We had put our mini backpacks under our jackets and we were hanging on to our purse in front of us.

We rode the Metro to Sao Paolo Station and emerged with no problems. St. Paul’s Outside the Walls is officially known as Basilica Sao Paolo Fuori le Mura and is another one of the four churches wherein you are considered “in the Vatican” when you are in this church. This was the largest church in the Catholic World until St. Peter’s was built. The original wood church, the oldest in Rome, burned in the nineteenth century and they followed the original plans when rebuilding it with stone and marble. There are several unique things about this church. St. Paul the apostle is buried here under the main altar and there are mosaic tile portraits of each of the Pope’s that line the top of the walls. The newest one and the only one with a light shinning on it is of Pope Benedict. One of the issues is that that are only seventeen more spaces; what is to happen when we run out? End of the world? Only God knows.

Enjoyed both the inside of the church and the classic marble cloister in front of the entrance; we also spotted another Jubilee Door that is only open every twenty five years. Each of the four churches has one as well as others throughout the world that have been granted a special privilege by the church

We boarded the Metro and each had a seat heading back towards the center of the city. We again walked over to the Santa Maria Maggiore to have a better look at the relics that are located in that church. Downstairs under the altar we were able to view the relic of a piece of wood that was reportedly part of the crib used for the birth of Jesus. And also the tomb of the artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini is located to the right side of the altar.

By now it was nearly four o’clock and with the time change and the weather we decided to call it a day. It has looked like rain all afternoon and right now it is actually snowing outside our window on the fourth floor (that’s the fifth level) and melting by the time it arrives on the ground. There is still no heat in our room so we are dressed warmly and drinking hot drinks while we catch up on our journals. Tomorrow’s another travel day.

If you’re wondering about the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel…those are the only things that Mary did see in 2005 and I’ve seen them several times so we’ve elected to bypass those beautiful pieces of history in favor of seeing the things that she did not see in her previous trip. Hope you’ve enjoyed the final chapter on our weekend in Rome along with the photo slideshow that has finally arrived.

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