“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

June 19, 2014

amalfi2014romexperienceWeek 4 Highlights

June 9, 2014:

Back to the Ordinary!

It was quite appropriate that on Monday, June 9, as the universal Church returned to Ordinary Time, we here at The Rome Experience began our regular schedule of prayer and classes. After our retreat in Ars, arriving in Rome and getting settled in, and a long week running around Rome visiting the beautiful holy sites, it was good to ease into a smooth rhythm. Being a person who likes falling into habits (hopefully good ones!), it has been good to be able to establish my own little habits, within the plan of life that the program provides for us. This development of good habits (i.e. virtues) is part of what we have been taught during these past weeks. A good “Plan of Life” will help us live balanced lives.

A Sheep with a Shepherd

Part of the steady rhythm and balance, which I spoke of above, includes spiritual direction. At seminary, each seminarian is assigned a spiritual director. A struggle for me during the summers has always been “going at it alone” for almost three months without spiritual direction. I am grateful that, while only for three short meetings, The Rome Experience provides spiritual directors for us during our time in Rome. Last Monday was my first “official” meeting with my spiritual director. It was a blessing to get to share with him the ways in which the Holy Spirit has been moving in my heart during these past few weeks; my joys, my struggles, my dryness, my encounters with The Lord, etc.

June 14-15, 2014:

Weekend Pilgrimage Adventure

Along with all the awesome things which are provided for us by The Rome Experience (classes in Rome, visits to holy sites, meetings with cardinals and priests serving in Rome, etc.), we are also given some free time to do things on our own. This past week-end, three of the men and I travelled three hours south of Rome to visit a few places.

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“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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Welcome the Rome Experience Class of 2014!

April 15, 2014




The Bishops’ Advisory Board, faculty, priests and staff of the Rome Experience are very pleased to announce and welcome the Class of 2014!


Dillon Barker
Diocese of Nashville
Pontifical College Josephinum

Craig Best
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

Adam Bradley
Diocese of Green Bay
St. Francis de Sales Seminary

Ion Chamorro
Archdiocese of Miami
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Levi Cochenour
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Brent Crowe
Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
Mount Angel Seminary

Jonathan Davis
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Daniel Daza-Jaller
Diocese of Palm Beach
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Joseph Fessenden
Diocese of Nashville
Notre Dame Seminary

Mason Fraley
Archdiocese of Denver
St. John Vianney Seminary

Matthew Gomez
Archdiocese of Miami
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

James Handerhan
Diocese of Birmingham
Notre Dame Seminary

Philip Klaas
Diocese of Madison
Immaculate Conception College Seminary

Jarred Kohn
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

Steven Nolan
Diocese of Madison
Saint Paul Seminary

Andrew Pacheco
Diocese of Santa Rosa in California
Saint Patrick’s Seminary

Amado Ramos-Hernandez
Diocese of Austin
Notre Dame Seminary

Mauro Sanchez-Gonzalez
Diocese of Sioux City
St. John Vianney Seminary

Joseph Sanderson
Diocese of Burlington
St. John’s Seminary

Pedro Saucedo, Jr.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
St. John’s Seminary

Andrew Smith
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

William Wheeler
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
St. John’s Seminary

Jacob Willig
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

Important Update: The Rome Experience 2013

February 6, 2013

header-feb4The application deadline for The Rome Experience 2013 program and scholarship was January 21, 2013.

At this time, due to the number of applications we received, we are no longer accepting applications for this year’s program.

We encourage seminarians interested in The Rome Experience to stay connected with us and to apply early for the 2014 program.  Thank you!

Rome Experience 2010, day 10

November 12, 2010

June 1st, 2010 — from the Rome Experience journal of Jeffrey Gardner

Day Ten started with morning mental prayer in the house chapel at the Monastery di S. Antonio in Norcia, followed by breakfast that consisted of coffee, rolls/bread, jams, juices and the world’s best honey.

            All Rome Experience days were special, but this was a bit more so because we were going to Assisi, Italy — St. Francis’ home town! The ride through the Italian mountain country was breathtaking!  The roads are wide and comfortable – no real danger of going off the road – but in many places, the mountain ascends sharply on one side of the road, while descending quickly to a beautiful mountain stream on the other side.  Interestingly, we drove through one mountain tunnel that was 4000 meters long, or approximately 3 miles.   

Rome Experience seminarians in the mountain town of Assisi, June 2010

             Once we got on the highway, the landscape opened up, and we could see beautiful mountains, lush green valleys and cities built along cliffs.  The first stop was the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels) that rests in the valley below the sparkling city of Assisi.  The basilica is quite beautiful on its own, but the real beauty of is that it houses the little church in which St Francis died — the Porziuncola Chapel. The basilica is so big that it comfortably houses the chapel, which is about the size of a one-room schoolhouse. I think these two are the most beautiful of all the churches, other than St Peter’s, that I have seen in Italy.

            After the stop at Our Lady of the Angels, we rode the bus the short distance to Assisi and immediately went into the Basilica of St Francis.   You feel the real presence of St Francis in the basilica — even more so as you roam around Assisi!  As you walk these narrow, brick-lined streets you get a sense of what the saint saw and how he lived.  You can pray in churches where he prayed, eat lunch in the public meeting area called the Piazza Commune where Francis and his followers met, and tour Francis’ house and the room in which he was born.  Assisi is a must for any Catholic visiting Italy.

Serious terrain keeps seminarians alert

August 22, 2010

Good country for mountain goats


There’s more to free time in Italy than just  lounging with a cappucino!  Seminarians do their leisure time the hard way with a mountain hike in Umbria.

Lunch tastes better after a strenuous hike

August 19, 2010

Lunch at the foot of the cross, the lower portion of which — like the lower portion of a lot of structures in Italy — bears graffiti from previous visitors.  The cross stands at the peak of Mt. Pitino in Umbria.

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