We started our day, the First Saturday of the month, honoring our Blessed Mother. We walked to the Trevi Fountain and met Fr. Josh Ehli, from the Bismark, North Dakota Diocese, who explained that the fountain was built to honor the young virgin who discovered the source of water for the city of Rome. The fountain honors the Romans, which allowed the Church to flourish. The money that we threw into the fountain goes to help the poor of Rome.
Then we walked to the Casa Santa Maria, where the young men who study at the North American College stay, and Father celebrated Mass for us in the beautiful chapel, then explained several of the pieces of art in the chapel.
Father took us to the basilica of St. Mary Major, and we entered through the Holy Door. This is the greatest Church in the West to honor the Blessed Mother. We had a tour of the basilica, and prayed at the statue of Our Lady of Peace. Father explained the meaning of the gestures of Mary and Jesus, and said that peace in the world begins with us. He also explained the image of “Our Lady, Health of the Romans.” We visited the Blessed Sacrament chapel where St. Jerome is buried under the altar, and in which St. Ignatius of Loyola celebrated his First Mass. The highlight of our visit was praying at the reliquary containing five pieces of wood from the manger in which Jesus was born, which is under the main altar. We had a little time for private prayer in this holy place.
Next we walked to Santa Prassede, where we venerated the column at which Jesus was scourged. St. Prassede had brought the bones of the martyrs from the catacombs to this church. Then we went to visit the Redemptorist church of St. Alphonso, where the original 14th century icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is housed. We spent some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
After a lunch of pizza and coffee, we walked to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, taking the street along which the Pope carries the Blessed Sacrament during the Corpus Christi procession. We first visited the ornate Baptistery which is still in use. This is the Mother Church of Rome and the Pope’s cathedral church. After going through another Holy Door, Father explained several of the bas relief images from both the Old and New Testaments as well as the statues of the Apostles. We also saw the table of the Last Supper.
To conclude our day, Sr. Daisy treated us to ice cream in honor of the Feast of Our Lady of the Garden, the Patroness of her Community.
Throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain!
The Chapel at the Casa Santa Maria
Group photo at St. Mary Major
Entering the Holy Door at St. Mary Major
The pillar at which Jesus was scourged, at St. Prassede Church
The altar at St. Alphonso Church - just above the altar is the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Father Ehli explaining the baptistry images at St. John Lateran
Entering the Holy Door at St. John Lateran
Final group photo in front of the Cathedra at St. John Lateran