July 31, 2014
This summer I participated in the Rome Experience. This experience was a great opportunity for me to grow more in my faith and in my knowledge about the history of the Catholic Church. During this trip I saw places that I always wanted to see and even places that I did not know existed. We had Mass at the Church in Ars where the Patron Saint of my seminary served and died as a priest. I saw his in-corrupt body there in the new basilica. This was an amazing experience. I also had the chance to see many places where other saints lived. I saw the stairs that Jesus walked at the praetorium and a piece of the cross that he carried for our salvation.
Seeing all of these places and people so excited about their faith gave me great joy and encouraged me to strive not only to live a better life but also to imitate the saints and to live as they did to bring more people closer to God. I think that this experience was very positive and that I learned many new things that I can teach others and that if God willing I become a priest I will be preaching about. The Rome Experience, as many people have said before me, is a life changing experience. There is so much to learn and after going through the program I feel like I have taken a great step towards learning more about my faith, the Catholic Church, and how to try to become a saint little by little. Pax!
Seminarian for the Diocese of Sioux City
Rome Experience Class of 2014
July 19, 2013
Top 5 Highlights of Week 6
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Miami
1 – Saints . . . and more Saints
The first highlight of the week was really somewhat of a weeklong highlight. This last full week in Rome we were given plenty of free time in the afternoons. As such, I eagerly took advantage of these open time-slot opportunities to visit and pray at some particular churches in Rome that house the tombs of the saints. Among the many saints that I was able to “visit” were St. John Leonardi, St. Joseph Calasanz, Ss. Bartholomew, Ss. Philip and James, Bl. Anna Maria Taigi, St. Phillip Neri, Bl. Pius XI, St. Lawrence and St. Stephen.
Perhaps the most significant of these “visits” for me was the visit to the tombs of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen in the church of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls – this since I highly esteem these two saints. Indeed, their zealous love for the Lord has always particularly inspired me and, as such, I was eager to be able to pray to them and ask their intercession.
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June 20, 2010
Brendan Johnson’s journal, June 6 2010:
After the (Corpus Christi) procession we had to quickly change out of our cassocks and surplices and move to the bus to make our way to Cascia to see St. Rita and the remnants of a Eucharistic miracle (very appropriate for the feast of Corpus Christi). St. Rita’s Basilica was a little modern and not terribly attractive, but it was wonderful to be able to pray before St. Rita’s tomb and even to see her a little bit. She wasn’t covered with wax as many of the saints are, but was out for all to see (not terribly well preserved, but it was neat to be able to see her body).
Tomb of St. Rita at Cascia
From Cascia we made the three-hour trip to Rome where we are staying (Fraterna Domus) and after a quick trip to our rooms to more or less settle in, we made our way over to St. Peter’s. Coming into St. Peter’s is pretty neat, but not as big as I had imagined it in my mind – not to say that it isn’t big, but I had a much more expansive view of St. Peter’s. Going into St. Peter’s was incredibly moving, though! We went to the central entrance to look at the altar over St. Peter’s tomb with the Holy Spirit window behind it – that was absolutely incredible! It was wonderfully ethereal in its look with the play of the lights, and just very beautiful and moving. In the short time that we were there, we were able to pray at the tombs of St. Peter, St. Pius X and Bl. John XXIII, and pray the Angelus in front of the Pieta. We had to leave very quickly but it was still very beautiful and a wonderfully apt way to begin our stay in Rome.