After a few hours wait in the Toronto airport, we boarded our plain to begin the flight overseas. Few of us had much luck getting a good sleep on the overnight flight, but all were happy to land safe and sound in Rome. We hit the road running by checking in at our hotel at 1 p.m. local time and making a visit to the nearby church of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four major basilicas of Rome.
After a quick lunch break, we visited the Church of St. Clement, and toured the excavations underneath the basilica which dated back to pre-Christian times. The Basilica of St. John Lateran was our next stop. This basilica is also one of the four major basilicas of Rome as well as the cathedral for the Diocese of Rome.
Across the street from the Basilica is the Church of the Scala Santa, or the Holy Stairs. The Holy Stairs, which Our Lord walked up to be condemned by Pontius Pilate, were transported to Rome from Jerusalem under the direction of St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. Pilgrims make their way up the stairs on their knees as they recall with devotion the Passion of the Lord.
One of our last visits was to the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. This church houses many of the relics associated with the crucifixion and death of Jesus, many of which were brought to Rome once again under the patronage of that most notable of religious artifacts: St. Helena.
After a short stop by the hotel, we regrouped for a tasty Roman dinner at a nearby restaurant and wrapped up the day with night prayer in front of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Our Rome Gnomes had a hard time keeping up with the rest of us, and as a result have been having some difficulties posting pictures. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for them.
Thinking and praying for all of you on this eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul!