The first week has been a bit crazy with daily excursions throughout the city. Some of these visits were new for me and others I had visited during my time here in Rome two years ago, but I assure you all of them were absolutely wonderful. Here are some of the highlights.
The first day we went to St. John Lateran, the first residence of the Pope before St. Peter’s. We had a wonderful English nun lead us on quite a tour. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the baptistery that adjoins the Basilica. This is the oldest public baptistery in Christianity. After the persecutions ended with the Edict of Milan (313 a.d.) in which the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, the Church and Baptistery were built as a place as the first place for public and legal worship. This means that some of the first public celebrations of the Eucharist would have been celebrated here as well as the first “R.C.I.A.” classes. Okay, so they might not have called their catechesis R.C.I.A, but you get the point.
We began mass in the actual fount, renewing our baptismal promises on this the beginning of a new life in Rome. We finished mass in the chapel where this picture of Our Lady hung over the altar. I was taken by this painting for some reason. It is just so human the way Christ is touching the Blessed Mother’s face.
The second highlight includes many pictures and that is our day trip to the lake in Bracciano. It was a beautiful day and the water was wonderful. The town itself is about an hour outside of Rome and quite small. It hosts a cool castle which we were unable to visit and several nice Churches. Since no motorboats are allowed on the lake, the water was very clear. In fact, I could see the bottom past were I could touch. The first picture is of the castle, the second an over look of the lake and the last is a picture of the death of St. Joseph from a nice “little” Church I happened upon.
I must say that we have done quite a bit since arriving less than a week ago, much more than I can speak about here. I will continue to do what I can to keep posting. I will not, however, post for the next month or so. Sunday, I am off to Siena to learn Italian. I will return the last week of August in which time I will hopefully have time to post more pictures and such. Thanks again for all the prayers. Please know that I am keeping most of you in my own prayers. I will leave you with a parting shot of sunset from the roof. Ah, the Eternal City.