Virtual Pilgrimage | Day 6 - A Very Full Day!
We had another full day in Rome which included walking through our final two holy doors. We began at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls which is built over the tomb of the Apostle Paul. Fr. Nick Desimone celebrated our Mass today as we honored this great missionary apostle. The emperor Constantine built the first church here in the 4th century. A fire in 1823 destroyed the basilica and construction for a new one began the following year.
We drove along the ancient Appian Way to visit the Catacombs of St. Callixtus. This ancient burial ground was the final resting place for one half million Christians. There were nine popes buried here as well as well as martyrs, including St. Cecelia. The catacombs for Christians began because most people were not able to acquire above ground tombs on their own. The walls of the catacombs were decorated with frescoes containing basic Christian symbols - Jesus the Good Shepherd, the fish, a dove with an olive branch and even Jonah. The bodies of popes and martyrs were eventually moved to the churches. As a result by the ninth century the catacombs were abandoned. It was not until archeologists began their work in the 19th century that the catacombs were discovered and excavated.
After this fascinating tour we went to lunch at Cecelia Matella restaurant which was built along the Appian Way where we enjoyed their signature pasta. We then headed back into the city for our tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. 25,000 people pass through the Sistine Chapel everyday. We saw sculptures and other carvings, the tapestry hall and the map hall as we snaked our way through the buildings to the Sistine Chapel to see the masterpiece of Michelangelo - the chapel ceiling and the Last Judgement. We were not disappointed at the incredible beauty of this sacred place. The exit to the Sistine Chapel spilled over into the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica through the holy door. This magnificent church was overwhelming in size and beauty as we admired the Pieta, the statue of St. Peter and the bronze canopy over the papal altar.
We returned to our hotel with tired feet but also grateful hearts for all that we had seen today.
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St. Mary's Parish ~ 20 Summer Street ~ Shrewsbury, MA
on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 1:09AM