Why Rome?

I have a personal tradition of staying up and watching Midnight Mass early on Christmas morning as well as trying to take notice when Pope John Paul II is in the news. Each time I saw His Holiness on tv made me sad that he was continuing to grow weaker as he aged and his health worsened. I knew that I had not taken the opportunity to see the Pope or at least be in his presence when he has traveled to the US. I also knew that if I didn’t try soon, I may not get the chance in the future. Robert and I are both practicing Catholics, so I knew that a trip to Rome and Vatican City would be the trip of a lifetime for both of us. I began talking to Robert about what he thought of going to Rome and Vatican City. He, of course, was very interested. The only questions were when and how much was it going to cost us. I brought up the idea several times during 2003 until my mom put me in contact with a travel agent, Beverly, that she knew from work connections. I sent Beverly an email and began getting information about what it would cost us if we decided to plan the trip. The trip costs were not too bad, especially if we traveled during the winter season. After about 2-3 weeks of debating, we decided to go for it…even if it would rack up the credit card debt a bit. The trip was well worth it. We didn’t know if we would be able to see Pope John Paul II until we got there, but it was worth it to take the chance especially since we were able to see him twice!]]>

102 Photos of Rome

The Beginning of our Trip in Rome

I drove Terri nuts because every time we saw another church, I had to comment on it. (how many times could you hear “…and there’s another church!” before you lost your mind?) At every site of ruins, or a piece of the old city wall, or an excavation, I have to stop and wonder that we are looking at history that’s over 10 times older than my home country, and that it’s still in place and being preserved for the future. I mean, Largo Argentina (where the Cat Sanctuary is located) is about two blocks of excavated ruins, including part of the Pompey Theatre where Julius Caesar was assassinated, that lies within a business district. If that were somewhere in the United States, I have no doubt that those thousands-of-years-old building blocks from history would have been leveled and buried in concrete for someone’s new store or office building. That’s not to say that the Romans didn’t do their share of rebuilding on the past. Basilica di San Clemente, for example, starts with a 2nd century A.D. Mithric Temple, which was built on ruins left from the fire during Nero’s reign. Over that was build a Christian church in the 4th century A.D., the first St. Clements church that was filled in and used as the foundation, minus the white marble choir, for the current 12th century Basilica (restored in the 18th century). Well, this has gone on long enough for tonight. There will be more in the next few weeks, and I’ll try and get Terri to post some of her thoughts and recollections as well. I’ve also got almost 800 pictures to sort through and find images worth posting (and possibly scanning some of the postcards from places we couldn’t take good pictures). ’til next time…]]>