|Edoardo guides the pilgrims through the Vatican Museums|
One of our postulants for Holy Orders, Edoardo Fanfani, from All Saints Rome, who is a student at the Pontifical Gregorian University studying art history was able to be the guide for the group. Edoardo knows just about everything there is to know about Rome, her buildings, her art, her monuments, and links all this to the Christian presence and life in this his native city.
|Fr Leslie Nathaniel at the Papal General Audience|
|Fr Marcus presenting the work of the Anglican Centre in Rome|
Another highlight was the visit to the Catacombs of Santa Priscilla where some of the most ancient Christian art can be found, including a late 3rd century image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the child Jesus.
There are more than 10 km of passage ways in these catacombs, and some 40,000 early Christians were buried here, including 7 early Popes. We were given permission to celebrate the eucharist in an area of the catacombs close to the tomb of St Marcellinus, Bishop of Rome in the late 3rd century. It was a very moving place to pray together and celebrate the mass.
One of the pilgrims, who is normally confined to a wheelchair, was unable to descend into the catacombs, but we were able to bring Holy Communion to him when we surfaced after the eucharist.
The pilgrims joined in the General Audience held in St Peter's Square, and had special seats reserved for them, close to Pope Francis.
It was a joy to be able to have a short while with these pilgrims and to get to know them (I had confirmed a number of them) and spend time sharing our faith in Rome. St Thomas Becket parish is already a deeply ecumenically minded community and this pilgrimage is sure to strengthen that commitment.