Vatican Radio tour and the importance of media evangelization

June 29, 2010

From seminarian Jeffrey Gardner:

On June 18th we toured St Peter’s, and then Vatican Radio.  St Peter’s was grace-filled, but I was moved by what I experienced at Vatican Radio.
    On the Vatican Radio tour, we saw a film on their history and got to meet a woman who works there — Charlotta Smeds.  She is from Sweden, came to Rome to study when she was 20, and then converted to Catholicism.  She is now the voice of Vatican Radio to Sweden. 

What really stuck me about Vatican Radio is that they may be the only form of evangelization many parts of the world receive.  For example, in some parts of the world,where the Church is not strongly present, many never get to attend Mass.  In fact, they may only ever participate in the Mass through what they hear on Vatican Radio.   This left me awestruck.  The things that I get to do every day in the US and in Rome — take part in the Mass and the Sacraments —  are unavailable to some of my Christian brothers and sisters, except in the form of a radio broadcast.  I can’t imagine how deep their faith must be;  they are sustained by the Church’s graces transmitted via radio waves!

    Charlotta told us about many of the letters Vatican Radio received after the fall of Communism in Europe.  Many of the letters spoke of how Christians behind the Iron Curtain gathered in secret around the radio to hear the pope speak on Vatican Radio broadcasts.  Vatican Radio was their lifeline, their connection to the graces of the Church.  We will never know how important Vatican Radio must have been in helping to bring down the Iron Curtain — I am sure it played no small part!
        We must never forget that we are called to evangelize the world to enable all God’s people to hear the beautiful news of the Gospel, and to touch God in the Sacraments of his Church.  Vatican Radio is a big part of this evangelization.

Vatican Radio -- lifeline to the world

Learn more about Vatican Radio at their website:


Rosary walk along the Tiber

June 28, 2010

Sent by Kevin Hurley:  this picture of seminarians Kevin Drew, Brendan Johnson and Jeff Gardner during a Rosary walk along the Tiber River with Father John Heisler and Father Eric Nielsen.

Rosary Walk along the Tiber, with St. Peter's on the horizon

Where St. Maximilian Kolbe studied in Rome

June 27, 2010

From seminarian Jason Keas:

Eric, Gabi, Thomas and I went to where St. Kolbe lived as a seminarian in Rome.  Here we are, sitting at the table where he had his first Militia Immaculata meeting. This was very special for me because we have the same group at our seminary in Denver. It was good to pray for our group in Denver and all the MI groups in the world.

Eric, Gabi, Jason and Thomas

Unique private tour and special souvenirs

June 26, 2010

Brendan Johnson’s journal, continued:

June 12, 2010, part 2

The afternoon outing with Fr. Baker took us to the Aventine Hill to see some churches – or so we thought. What we didn’t factor in was the time of year and time of day it was,  so we stumbled into several weddings and really weren’t able to see much of the churches up there. However, all of this bad luck was made up for when we passed the church of St. Sixtus II (San Sisto All’Appia) –  now a Dominican convent. It was a wonderful mishap!

Fr. Baker suggested I give the gate a push to see if we could get in, but it was locked.   As we were walking away,  a little old Dominican sister waved to us from the window, unlocked the gate and called us back to the convent.  Sr. Maria Ernestina,  62 years in the convent, proceeded to give us a private tour — completely in Italian. Despite the language barrier, we were able to learn a lot about the convent, which was the first church Pope Honorius III gave St. Dominic when he arrived in Rome.  It was also the site of several of St. Dominic’s miracles. 

 The sister showed us all around the chapel, and even through the older parts of the basilica, which date back to at least the third century and had  frescoes from the same time period.  She also showed us the refectory and the Chapter room where their foundress (whose cause is up for canonization) was buried after the Napoleonic occupation is.  The Chapter room is also  where St. Dominic worked several miracles. The sisters then gave us some books (in Italian of course) that explain the church/convent and contain some wonderful pictures to remember everything by.  What a grace it was to stumble into this church  — probably one of the best things that could have happened to us as we made our way around!

New digs and old friends

June 25, 2010

Brendan Johnson’s journal:

June 12, 2010, part 1
 Today was a good day, but incredibly tiring! We had class in the morning with Msgr. Kelly – a good class, but I was a bit tired after the busy day we had had Friday.   After class,  we moved all of our stuff from Fraterna Domus to the Falconieri Institute* (where we’ll stay the longest). The new place that we’re staying is very nice and the room that I share with Jason is HUGE!

I was under the impression that after we left Norcia everything would start going downhill in  quality, but we’ve been incredibly well taken care of in all of the places that we’ve been. After moving our stuff over, I went out to lunch with Fr. Baker, John Hammond, Kevin Hurley and some of the men from my diocese studying at the NAC.  It was really good to see them and wonderful to hear how they are doing and how well they have been adjusting to living in Italy.

(Near Piazza Navona)
Suore Mantellate Serve di Maria
Via S. Giuseppe Calasanzio, 1
00186 Roma
Tel: (011 39) 0668803344
Fax: (011 39) 066871471

Rome Experience seminarians attend Wednesday audience: see video!

June 24, 2010

June 23, 2010. For the third week in a row, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience to St. Thomas Aquinas.  The Pope cited Thomas’ work as a source of profound theological truths.  For video of the audience — attended by Rome Experience seminarians — click here:

The judicial branch

June 24, 2010

Kevin Hurley sent us this photo, taken June 19 by Fr. Eric Nielsen, of the entire class; at center is Archbishop Raymond Burke, head of what is sometimes called “the Church’s Supreme Court” — the Apostolic Signatura.  During a visit by the Rome Experience men, the archbishop explained the responsibilities of his office.  

Rome Experience 2010 class posing with Archbishop Raymond Burke at the Signatura

%d bloggers like this: