Reflections from the Rome Experience Class of 2013

July 11, 2013

Basilica of Saint Agnes_06
A Review of The Rome Experience 2013

Matthew Biedrzycki
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

It is about 6:00 AM on July 2nd and we have just arrived at the airport ready to begin our last day of travel on the Rome Experience. Since we’d embarked on our journey several weeks earlier we had traversed three countries, a mountain range, numerous major pilgrimage sites in Western Christendom, basilica after basilica after basilica, the tombs of martyrs, saints, confessors, popes and even found time to stop, pray and even eat some pretty good food along the way. We attended a general audience with Pope Francis, had the chance to pray with him as he celebrated the mass and Sunday Angelus. On its face the Rome Experience appeared a success and not a few of us were looking forward to sharing what we had learned and experienced with family and friends as we returned to the states.

On this last day of travel we were blessed with the opportunity to have Mass at the airport before setting out for home. Father’s homily that day threw our last several weeks of travel, pilgrimage and study into new relief. As Father began the homily he commented on the good fortune we had of hearing the Gospel passage where the Apostles cry to Jesus, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” because their boat seemed ready to sink (Mt 8:25). Father said that the passage highlighted not only the trust we ought to have in Jesus, but also the importance of cultivating that relationship with him and his Church which truly was the focus of this experience. He highlighted a few of the major places we had been and memories we had made and reminded us that they will fade in time but it is that relationship with Jesus Christ that truly saves us and makes us the loving sons that God desires us to be.

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Announcing the 2013 Rome Experience!

September 26, 2012

“Rome and the Papacy – Retracing the History of Our Faith”
May 20th – July 2nd, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI explains in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (no. 13): “One thing that will be of decisive importance in this Year [of Faith] is retracing the history of our faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin.” 

In the midst of the Year of Faith, the seminarians in The Rome Experience 2013 will have the extraordinary opportunity to be immersed in the history, theology, and art of the Faith through the study of the lives of the Popes and saints and the great monuments of Rome.

The Rome Experience is designed for seminarians who have completed at least their first year of Theology. To apply, a seminarian must be sponsored by his Director of Vocations and approved by his Bishop.

The deadline for the application and scholarship is Monday, January 21, 2013.

Download the brochure and application today!

Faculty 2012: Dony Mac Manus

May 17, 2012

Dony Mac Manus
Founder of the Sacred Art School, Florence, Italy

Dony Mac Manus has been a part of the Rome Experience since 2009.  He is an accomplished international artist with more than twenty years of experience producing and teaching visual arts.  And, he is the guide and instructor of the Rome Experience’s course, “Pilgrimages and Tours of the Churches, Art and Architecture of Ancient Rome”.

Born in Dublin in 1971, Dony Mac Manus graduated with a Bachelor of Design (1995) and Higher Diploma in Art and Design Teaching (1998) from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland. In 2001, he received a Masters in Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art.

Upon completing his Masters in New York, Dony moved to Italy where he set up his studio first in Rome for a year and a half and then Florence for the next year and a half.  He returned to Dublin in 2004 to establish the Irish Academy of Figurative Art.

In 2007 Dony entrusted the Academy to his faculty and students in Dublin and he returned to Florence to establish the Dony Mac Manus Studios-Sacred Art School where he continues working on large international commissions while training his apprentices and students from around the world.

Pilgrimage to Assisi

June 17, 2009

We spent one day in Assisi while we were based in Norcia. Assisi was a very holy place, but it was too cluttered with tourists and not enough pilgrims. We did our best to pray at this wonderful city of St. Francis and St. Clare. I was also glad to learn that Francis had many holy friends as well.  It gives me hope for this motley crew!  I visited the main basilica, then John Grant and I hiked up to Mt. Subasio, where Francis received the stigmata, and I ended by going to St. Clare’s church to see the San Damiano cross that spoke to Francis and to venerate Clare’s relics.

Tomb of St. Francis in Assisi

Praying at the tomb of St. Francis was the highlight of my visit to Assisi. I have never had much of a devotion to Francis prior to this pilgrimage, but visiting Assisi stirred up many holy aspirations in my heart, especially to live a life a simplicity. The communion of Saints is real,  and I realized its power praying by the tomb of Francis.

-Ryan O’Neill

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