“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

June 9, 2014


I refer to the following three highlights as “The Triduum”:

Sunday, June 1, 2014
After going to Mass at a beautiful Franciscan church just to the side of St. Peter’s Basilica, I along with a few others went to the Regina Caeli led by the Holy Father at St. Peter’s Piazza. I have never been to Rome nor seen the Holy Father in person so I was excited to see the Pope – though not as much as I had anticipated. About five minutes before the Pope was scheduled to appear, I distanced myself from the group and began to pray on what is the significance of seeing the Pope in person is. (The fruit of this prayer is posted below.) Then, as he made his appearance from the window of the Papal Apartments, I found myself having to hold back the cheers I wanted to express for the Holy Father. I found myself with arms up welcoming the Holy Father as he looked at us from his window.

It was the solemnity of the Ascension and he spoke that day of God’s continual presence with us – in particular, he mentioned those persecuted Christians who suffer so much quietly. He asked us all gathered in the piazza if we believe that God is with us. He asked us this same question twice and then had us say out loud: “The Lord is with us!” The Pope also said that Christ offers his wounds to the Father and so we must do the same.

Monday, June 2, 2014
On Monday, Fr. Roger Landry from the diocese of Fall River, led us on tour in St. Peter’s Basilica. We had Mass in the crypt of the Basilica. While the whole morning was full of blessings, I particularly would like to share the experience of participating in the Scavi Tour. This tour is of the excavations that have been done under the structure of St. Peter’s. We walk through what was once the necropolis next to Nero’s Circus. The highlight of the whole tour is the sight of the bones of St. Peter. We stood about 10 feet from where they were returned (where they were originally located) after being examined after they were discovered. They are kept in a see-through container.

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Rome Experience 2010 — day 15

November 19, 2010

Sunday, June 6 

Left for Rome today.   Before we arrived in Rome, we stopped in Cascia to visit and pray before the tomb of St. Rita of Cascia.  After that, we had lunch and traveled on to Rome, where we moved into our quarters at Fraterna Domus.

First view of St. Peter's Basilica for Rome Experience 2010 seminarians

We decided to visit St. Peter’s basilica before it closed – for most of us, a first-time visit.  The light shone in just spectacularly.  That sight alone was worth a trip to Rome  — but then Father Heisler was able to convince a guard to let us get up close to the main altar in St. Peter’s, and there we were able to say some prayers for the Holy Father.  That made that first visit to St. Peter’s perfect – a special experience.  We then walked back to Fraterna Dormus, had dinner and then went to bed to be ready for class the next morning.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith welcomes Rome Experience men

June 30, 2010

Kevin Hurley submitted this photo,  taken by Father Eric Nielsen on June 19, 2010, after the Rome Experience seminarians and faculty met with Fr. Steven Lopes at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  The Prefect of the CDF is Archbishop William Levada, appointed in 2005 to succeeed Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger — now the Holy Father — who held the position until he was elected pope.  As Prefect of the CDF, Levada acts as the principal defender of teachings of the Church.

Father Lopes, the archbishop’s secretary, is holding a white paper in the front row.

Rome Experience seminarians visit Fr. Steven Lopes at CDF

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:


10,000 priests and the Pope celebrate their vocation

June 22, 2010

Submitted by seminarian Jason Keas:  

What a great sight to see — Pope Benedict blessing over 10, 000 priests in St. Peters Square in an open car after the  Mass closing the Year for Priests! 

Priests from all over the world fill St. Peter's Square as the Holy Father blesses them

 It was a great privilege to be part of this historic year for priests. The seminarians were seated to the left of all the priests.  We got to the section first and had excellent seats.  How powerful it was seeing priests file to their seats — which took hours —  before the Mass began. They came from all parts of the world, speaking many different languages, and their coming together to celebrate  with the Pope was a witness of the unity and family of the Catholic Church.  We didn’t get a translation of his homily until a few days later,  so when we did,  it was good to reflect again about the event of which we were a part.

Saints, sights and shopping around Rome

June 20, 2010

More from Brendan Johnson’s journal:

June 7, 2010

            Bishop Morlino of Madison, WI, has been a wealth of wonderful information, particularly on the hermeneutic of continuity within the teachings of the Church.  Having been a Jesuit for many years and then incardinating into Kalamazoo, he offered a unique perspective for us with his broad educational background and wealth of experience. After classes, a group of us went exploring the shops around St. Peter’s to see if we could find holy cards, medals, etc. to have blessed by the Holy Father when we go to the audience. We found a few good places, but Fr. Baker insists there are some really good ones that we missed – we’ll see when he brings us back over there.

Bernini elephant sculpture outside S. Maria Sopra Minerva

When we returned to Santa Croce, we made our way over to see some of the churches around this side of town.  We made it to San Agostino, where St. Monica is buried;  Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, where both  Bl. Fra Angelico and  St. Catherine of Siena are buried; a Byzantine church (with a name I can’t remember), San Ignazio — burial place of both St. John Berchmans and St. Aloysius Gonzaga — and  a few other churches whose names escape me. In all it was a wonderful day, but a bit overwhelming with all that we saw in the space of a few hours.  The highlight, though, was definitely Santa Maria Sopra Minerva – the Dominican church – because I really like the Gothic style and it was very peaceful in there.   Also, I was able to pray before St. Catherine of Siena.  You can get closer to her than any of the other big saints that we’ve seen so far.

Tomb of St. Catherine of Siena in S. Maria Sopra Minerva

With the Holy Father on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 19, 2010

This is from seminarian Thomas Haan:

Pope Benedict XVI rides through St. Peter's Square on vigl of the Sacred Heart, 2010

On the evening of Thursday, June 10, we gathered in St. Peter’s Square for adoration and Benediction with the Holy Father. This moving experience on the vigil of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, combined with his session of questions and answers, made for an incredible night. This picture is of Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived in St. Peter’s Square that night.

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