An incredible amount of events have happened this past week, both related to The Pope’s resignation and not, but I would be doing you all an incredible disservice if I didn’t recount on this incredibly historic week related to our Dear Papa Bene emeritus, so that will come tomorrow, but for today, the other stuff:
1) On Saturday a large group of us went to Assisi. We saw so much there! First we were able to have Mass at San Damiano, the church St. Francis rebuilt, as well as where St. Clare lived and died. We also saw Santa Chiara, the basilica built in honor of St. Clare which now holds her body and many relics. Santa Chiara is now also the home of the San Damiano cross, the cross from which Our Lord spoke to St. Francis commanding him to rebuild His church. Finally, we saw the Basilica of St. Francis which too was built in honor of St. Francis, and holds his body. We saw the remains of the home St. Francis grew up in–did you know at one point his father imprisoned him in a little hole in the wall? It reminded me of Harry Potter’s room under the stairs… We were also able to see the Church that was built to encompass another Church St. Francis built, and the little hut he lived and died in. Talk about history. It was an incredibly dreary day, it was very cold and poured the entire day, yet Assisi is so beautiful and such a change of pace from Rome that we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. My dear niece Clare Frances, was the beneficiary of many prayers and a Mass that day 🙂
2) Sunday was the Holy Father’s last Angelus. I didn’t make it there, but here are some pictures from a friend who did: it was estimated there were about 200,000 people there.
3) A big doing during Lent is “Station Churches.” Each morning during Lent a particular Church in Rome hosts an English Mass at 7am. Each day it’s a different priest, and often times the Masses are held in Churches that are only open for the public on this one day throughout the year. On Monday our chaplain was the presider, so he asked us to put together a choir to sing. We mostly sang Gregorian chants. I don’t know how to read music, and have never been in an organized choir so my fellow altos have been so great and helpful. This has been great to get to see Churches I wouldn’t normally travel to, and it has been fun to see the same people at Mass each day.
4) Wednesday was the Pope’s last audience, so a bunch of us got up at 2am to get in line. It was a great way to start my 21st birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was stunning, the sun was shining and I even got sunburn on my nose! We spent the morning with 200,000 of our closest family members from all over the world and all walks of life. We had a leisurely afternoon on the terrace of our house, soaking in that Roman sun. In the evening, we had another Community Night complete with Adoration, confession, Evening Prayer, Mass and birthday cake. To conclude the perfect day, the women were called into an impromptu meeting in the lounge. I had no idea what it was for, and they surprised me with a new pair of pants from GAP, the very ones I had been eyeing every time we walked by for the last two weeks. They know me so well!
5) Thursday was full of many tears: both of joy and sorrow. It was the final day of Pope Benedict’s time and we said our final goodbyes. First we watched his helicopter depart from St. Peter’s, then we gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a prayer vigil during the final hour of his pontificate. Our large and boisterous group as Americans drew a crowd, both of other faithful Christians who joined us in our prayer as well as many members of different media organizations. It was pretty frustrating to have photographers and video cameras in our faces as we were trying to pray, yet part of us is glad we were able to be at least a small witness as young, devoted Catholics. We finished off the night at an Irish Pub, with beers all around to toast our Papa.
6) We don’t have any classes on Fridays so we just get to catch up on e-mails, blogs, sleeping and shopping. My kind of day. Here are the pants my girls gave me for my birthday 🙂
7) Tomorrow we are headed to Siena for a day trip with our entire group. I am particularly excited to see the head of St. Catherine of Siena, my patron saint. The rest of her body is here in Rome. St. Catherine, pray for us!
**If you are visiting from the link-up from Conversion Diary, welcome, and stop by again soon!**