Travel: Italy (Days Thirteen and Fourteen)

Yesterday began with a walk the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia (Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Rome) a Roman Catholic Church with Mass in English. When in Rome… yeah. The liturgy was beautiful and the sermon was fine.

Following the service they had announcements and I thought they were talking about a service in the church (my Italian is still zero), but Heidi kept asking if I wanted to go. I said I was fine either way, but she kept insisting, so I eventually said I was good with it if they wanted to attend. This is when she said, “John, the Pope is going to bless the crowd and religious objects. Don’t you want to go?” Well, DUH! Mark another one up for bad hearing, but you couldn’t have stopped me at that point. We stood in the sun in St. Peter’s Square for over an hour and when he arrived, he was a little white speck in a window six stories up, but it was Pope Francis and I was there. The icing on the cake of this entire trip, which has been remarkable.

I scoured the YouTube video of the service and found myself, Heidi and Scott on Vatican TV.

From there, after a quick bite of lunch, we made our way to the Archbasilica Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran. Long name for a significant church. It was the first Vatican and the original church was built in the late 4th century. These churches that are off the main tourist routes are generally not very crowded, but are definitely worth the time to seek out.

We were looking for one more church, but it was closed when we found it, so we made our way back home and got cleaned up for supper.

Supper: I’ve never been to a Michelin rated restaurant until last night and did not know what it meant until I Googled it. Bottom line: really great food, service, and atmosphere. I would say that the Casa Coppelle met all the requirments.

On the way back to the apartment we strolled through Piazza Navona where a street musician was doing a fine job of some old Pink Floyd tunes. It was lights out after this.

Today is our last full day in Rome/Italy, so we made a few necessary stops picking up items that were being altered, took our pre-flight COVID tests (we’re all negative…yay!), and had one final meal at Mimi & Coco, which is only a few blocks from the apartment. A truly fantastic place to eat.

Now it is time to pack and get ready for the trip home. We leave for the airport at 8 a.m.

Of all that I’ve seen, the one image that has stayed with me is one that was painted on the ceiling in the Hall of Constantine in one of the first Papal apartments: The Triumph of Christianity by Tommaso Laureti. It was completed in 1582. Perhaps I’m supposed to be more humble, but this painting makes me feel proud and alive and with great purpose. Anything we decide to put on that pedestal other than Christ Jesus and Him crucified will be broken.

I hope you all have enjoyed my little travel blog and seeing a few of the sights. I look forward to reconnecting with you all when I’m on the other side of the pond.



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