Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vocation Pilgrimage and Assisi...

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, 10 young men from the University of Notre Dame came to Rome during their Spring Break on a pilgrimage for discernment in their vocations in life. Hosted by the Vocation Office and lead by Frs. Ed Obermiller, CSC and Jim Gallagher, CSC, the men had a safe, prayer-filled, and joyful visit.

Having arrived into Rome on Sunday morning, they spent the day attending the Holy Father's noon angelus address, climbing the cupola of St. Peter's dome, hiking over to the Pantheon for vespers, and then to the Casa for Mass. I often celebrated a "weary traveler's" Mass at ND last year but this was the King of weary traveler's Mass since the jet-lag was kicking into high gear. After Mass the men went out to various nearby restaurants.

On Thursday of that week I joined up with the pilgrimage at Termini Train Station for an 8AM departure to Assisi. I'm glad I went but I had just gotten over a fever and perhaps my travels kept me sick for later days.

Assisi is a favorite spot for many who visit there even once. I'm no exception to that. I spent the day taking in the frescos of Giotto that depict the various key events in the life of St. Francis as well as catching up on news and happenings with my two priest brothers. Around 4PM we celebrated Mass inside the Basilica of St. Francis. Afterwards, the students went back to Rome for a free evening and then a free Friday. I remained and was able to take time to pray at the tomb of St. Francis. In the past it has been packed with visitors. But this time there were maybe 15 loud europeans, who eventually left, leaving me and about 6 others to pray. It was a blessed time.

That evening I prayed vespers with Frs. Ed and Jim and we then enjoyed a nice meal (much cheaper than in Rome). After lauds on Friday morning we took in the morning clean air and made our way back to Rome via train.

I haven't forgotten those 10 students and pray that the Lord will bless them with knowledge of where His Holy Will desires them to be in life.

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