After a long night of travel with little to no sleep, we arrived in Rome at 1pm local time. Not surprisingly, the travel was probably the worst part of the trip for me. It started with a delayed flight in Pittsburgh, a very long taxing time at JFK, and a difficult passenger sitting next to me.
I admit, I am over-weight, yet I didn’t think it was that bad! The person next to me kept pushing down on the armrest between the two of us. Since I have long legs, I find it absolutely difficult to get my legs in a comfortable position. Once that was found, the passenger next to me kept pushing down the armrest into my leg, causing it to cramp and forcing me to wake up out of what little sleep I could muster.
After such a long day of travel, and after our arrival in Rome, we as a group immediately went to Saint Paul Basilica outside the Walls. There we toured the church as well as celebrated mass in the Benedictine Chapel. Father Edward Mazich, our rector, had mass while being assisted by two of our fourth-year deacons.
After mass, we departed from St. Paul’s and headed to the place we were to stay for the week: Sant’Anselmo. Sant’Anselmo is the Benedictine school in Rome that Saint Vincent Seminary receives its accreditation from. This amazing compound was built in the mid 1800s and still stands today. I didn’t get much time to explore the facilities, but I must say, it is an impressive compound. The history and the character here is spectacular. Just learning about the history of the school was eye-opening (that and with little sleep, I was doing anything I could to keep my eyes open!)
Once we had settled in, we went out for dinner to Il Cantinone Testaccio, a little homemade true Italian restaurant. The staff was amazing, truly treating you like family, wanting to make sure the food was perfect. We feasted upon fresh homemade bruschetta, an antipasti salad, pasta carbonara and a spicy pasta. To top it all off, we finished dinner with a cappuccino and apricot squares for desert. I could go on and on about the food but I think that most people will either get jealous or get sick of hearing about it.
Tomorrow is another long day, but I hope to get some sleep before then! First things first, we will attend mass at Sant’Anselmo with the monastic community here. Afterwards, we will go to the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus. Finally, tomorrow I will get to see a classmate of mine, Daniel Carr (Diocese of Greensburg), that I haven’t seen since he came here to Rome to study at the North American College. We will take some time to catch up and enjoy another great meal!
As always, know that I am praying for you as we stop at each and every holy site this week. Please keep me and the rest of our group in your prayers during this time!