Home » Rome

Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage: Thursday June 9 (Day 14) Rome

Yesterday I forgot to mention the Mass we attended at Saint John Lantern, which was a surprise for us………when we walked by a side chapel and the Gospel was being read, and it was in English!  We  went in and everyone smiled at us, making us feel like part of their  group.  After mass, the two priests came over to talk to us and find out where we were from.  They were English, from Sussex, and everyone in their group shook our hands or gave a gentle hug.  It was great because many groups don’t like strangers.

Anyway!!!  Another early day to get to the Vatican and get thru the Holy Doors as pilgrims, since we had registered.  We  didn’t realize that we had to walk almost one mile away from the Vatican and then  walk back.  We found that out yesterday, so when we got to Saint  Peters, I showed our pass and we got in the Pilgrims line.  Security was quicker and everyone got to go thru the doors regardless.  The same procedure was at the other 3 major Basilicas  as well.  We did visit them all on different  days.

If you have never been to St. Peters, when you enter you immediately are in front of the Pieta created by Michangelo, it never gets old.  Sam and Johna were very overwhelmed as we toured the Basilica and when we finally found the tomb of St. John Paul II.  It was right past the Pieta, but blocked off for mass when we came in.  Another area we came to was blocked off for confessions, so Susan decided to go for all the indulgences we had gotten. We waited for her…..and waited…..and…..waited. Only kidding, but the only the last confessional was for English.

We spent almost 2 hours here until the crowds became impossible to move or even enjoy the moment.  The lines for the  tombs of the Popes was very long and we were contemplating going when we ran into Mama, or Rachel, the mother of the Priest, Father Gabriel, who allowed us  to celebrate with him at Bethlehem in the Manger alcove.  Divine  intervention, we thought……how unlikely was this?

By the way we were at the  toilet doors, waiting for Sam, where we have met other great people at different toilets around the world, who became good friends, Like Fr. Tomasz, Cardinal Dziwisz’ Personal secretary, whom we plan to see next week. Fr. Gabriel came to meet his mother and was also shocked that we had run into each other.

We went for a  grandee cappuccino so we could talk and get to know each other better.  Mama was so happy to see us again and she and Susan bonded in a special way.  We talked to them about their lives and ours and they invited us to Argentina, as we also invited them to Florida, where they will be traveling next year.

Father invited us to mass  on Sat. at 8 AM at the shrine Of Saint John Paul II in St. Peters…..of course, we said yes, feeling blessed for the opportunity to receive communion in another very special place for us.


Father was next taking his mom to the Sistine Chapel, where Johna and Sam were going to go; Susan and I were taking the rest of the day off, so we hailed a cab for them and off the 4 of them  went.

Susan and I walked back to the apartment, which took about 25 minutes.  Along the way, we decided to spend the night in, so we went to the supermarket for food and supplies.  Our choice was for  Salad,  fresh Pasta, Fresh sausage and some cheese and proscuitto and a good Chianti of course.

We  figured they could make that, as it was Johna was great in the kitchen and Sam made a wonderful Sauce or gravy as he calls it.

The kids got home around  4:30.  Sam was  disappointed with the Sistine Chapel, because he couldn’t take photos, but he said it was magnificent.  Susan and I had done that before and the crowds were overwhelming, that’s why we opted out.  They  said the crowds were the same.

The kids dinner was great, and we caught up on a few things especially a trip report since I am 4 days  behind.  We  enjoyed the evening and went to bed all pretty exhausted from the non-stop  pace.

Tomorrow we are up early  again.
Bueno  Serra
May the Grace and peace  of Christ be with you always,
Susan, Tom and the  Kids

Prayer to the  Immaculate Conception

O God, who by  the Immaculate Conception
of  the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your
we beseech You that, as by the  foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did
preserve her from all stain, so too  You would permit us, purified through
her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ,  Your Son, who lives and reigns with
You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,  world without end.



Home » Rome

Tom & Sue’s Excellent Adventure Day 23 Rome

Buena Sera
Another late night for me, I was mesmerized by the TV since I could get English channels and watched 2 movies until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. I paid for it today as I almost fell asleep eating my egg. After 3 regular strong coffees I was ready. We planned to leave for Rome today around noon giving us time to walk around and be able to get to the North American College to pick up our tickets for tomorrows Papal Audience at 3:00 (I like that place, everyone speaks English).

Bought the tickets and we are off on today's excellent adventure.
Bought the tickets and we are off on today’s excellent adventure

It had stormed hard this morning as I watched another movie while working on the computer and just before we had to leave it stopped and the sun came out. We drove to another city about 12 miles from here to catch the metro at it’s origination point in Laurentina.  We drove in and parked right in front and bought our tickets and were on our way.

The subway is pretty much like subways everywhere. Not too crowded the farther out you are.

The subway here is like anywhere else when you get close to the center of Rome, a lot of pushing and shoving and swearing. We had to change lines and even in all the commotion we looked like pros. Sue was very calm, not like the last time we were here. I figured she thought it was better than the mountains and enjoyed the trip.

Our plan worked perfectly and we arrived at the college at 2:50 and had a nice conversation with another couple waiting for tickets.  When we left we started back for the subway and looked for a reasonably priced restaurant. We were not leaving until we had some calamari and pizza.

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most popular....and crowded attractions in Rome
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most popular….and crowded attractions in Rome

One restaurant we stopped at was so expensive I just laughed. A ½ bottle of house wine was 15 Euro, almost as much as the whole meal we had at Maria’s 2 days ago, so we opted out and finally found a beautiful little ma and pa place away from the tourist trap of the Trevi Fountain.

Editors note:  Our advice is not to eat next to major tourist attractions in Rome….just wander over a couple of streets and you can find better food and much better prices.

Nice little ma and pa place near trevi fountain
Nice little “Ma & Pa” place near Trevi Fountain
The calamari was excellent and the pizza was the best we have had. It was still pricey but you are in Rome and it was worth it.

Full and content we headed for the metro and got on the train for the ride back which took less than a ½ hour and no aggravation of driving the city and parking. Tomorrow morning we leave our hotel at 5:45 to repeat the process. At 6:30 we will meet Marilyn Olson on the platform at the Termini station where we change lines to get to the Vatican. We were told to get there around 7:00 for the best seats, we had done this before and I swore I would never do it again, but it’s Papa Francesco, and the sofa bed is not all that comfortable.

EWTN does air the Papal Audience, 4:00 am Florida time, and I’m sure you will all be up to watch as they drag Susan away as she tries to jump the barricade to get to the Pope if he doesn’t come over and say hello.

Sue let Pope Francis know we were coming!
Sue let Pope Francis know we were coming!



She sent him a couple more Facebook posts and tweets, just so he knows where we are sitting and what we will be wearing. LOL LOL.  Whomever reads his mail must be roaring by now with laughter from these messages she has sent. They probably have her photo in the hands of all the security people. If you don’t get a trip report tomorrow just check the 6:00 PM news. I may have to take her for a mountain trip if things don’t work out to get her mind off of it.

The greatest thing about these audiences are the blessing he give when it ends. When he imparts this blessing on us it also imparted onto those we love and pray for and for their special intention as if you where all there with us, also whatever religious objects you have with you are blessed. Pretty neat, so tomorrow all of you will get a papal blessing for yourselves and your intentions and I am sure we will read all the intentions we carry as we wait. After, we will have lunch somewhere that has room since the sisters at the college told us that there were at least 60,000 ticketed people will be there.

It’s time for bed, 5 Am comes early; Wish me luck.
Good night and God Bless,

Susan and Tom