ON BEING ON THE ROME EXPERIENCE
Seminarian for the Diocese of Austin
Top Five Highlights of “Week 3”
1. First highlight would be the opportunity to go to the baths in Lourdes, France, so much so that not even the cold water and the fact the attendant looked at me funny because I was wearing thermal underwear could take away the joy of the experience.
2. Being in Ars, France and the surrounding French countryside which was beautiful and very peaceful and reminded me a lot of Westphalia, Texas my home.
3. Simply having St. Peter’s in our backyard!
4. Visiting the churches in Rome with Doni from Florence whose expertise helped in finding the churches, but also his artistic knowledge was influential in gaining more insight into what we were seeing.
5. Talking to the Swiss guards next to St. Peter’s with Tom Gignac about being able to visit St. Stephen’s behind St. Peter’s, and the response that I needed to be an employee at the Vatican, so I replied that I guess I need to fill out an application for a job (hit him on the shoulder laughingly). He said come back tomorrow in the daylight and talk to Swiss guards as maybe then it would be possible to see.
Reflection “On Being on The Rome Experience”:
I think personally some of the greatest joy I have received on this trip has come from interactions with people whether in France or here in Rome. Although what we are seeing has truly been breathtaking I would have to say that being able to walk around in clerics and talk to people of a different language and nationality has been profoundly inspiring in the sense that they truly seem open to conversing with you. However, I do believe that the Italians love seeing someone from Texas and that helps (accent) I suppose, but wearing clerical attire does help in striking up conversations with complete strangers, and the “marvelous exchange” between the ‘I’ and the ‘thou’ truly makes God feel present and makes present the universality of the Church and its mission to protect love.