We attended Mass at St. Anne’s church, which is very near the Vatican. Then we picked up a cup of cappuccino and walked two blocks to the Congregation for Catholic Education. We were privileged to meet once again with Fr. Bechina (and another official from the office, an intelligent German woman who deals with international education affairs at the Congregation). Father helped us to see the distinction between the Vatican and the Holy See, which deals with the Church’s international affairs regarding Catholic education. Catholic Education reflects the diversity of the Universal Church. Education is a Community of Learners, and we need to approach each person with a merciful heart. Every person has the right to be educated in all aspects of life; therefore Catholic education cannot just be catechesis. Father emphasized the Principle of Subsidiarity, and that there is no ”one size fits all” regarding Catholic education. We also watched a video that included a talk by Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace prize winner from Pakistan. She stated that “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” We were inspired by how much Father and Melanie are rooted in Christ in this important mission.
In the afternoon, we once again met Fr. Nicolas Steeves, S. J., who treated us to a tour of the Gregorian Pontifical University. In a PowerPoint presentation, he gave us the history of the University. We were amazed to find out that the University’s alumni include 16 Popes, 21 Saints, and 39 Blessed. One quarter of the Bishops and half of the Cardinals are also graduates of the Gregorian. Father then took us on a tour of the Church of St. Ignatius and the Gesu. At the end of the tour, there was a special presentation of the sound and light at the altar of St. Ignatius. The music and prayers were peaceful and uplifting.
Today we celebrate the Vigil of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. The reading from Evening Prayer I was just for us . . . “to all in Rome, beloved of God and called to holiness, grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7
Entering the Congregation for Catholic Education
Father Bechina, his assistant, and Mother Regina Pacis
Father Steeves showing us The Church of St. Ignatius
The mortal remains of St. Robert Bellarmine
The high altar at the Church of the Gesu
The final scene of the Sound and Light show at the Gesu