Well, our pilgrims are emerging from their jet-lag and their “while you were out” messages, and they’re beginning to post mementos of our trip to Rome and Assisi. Susie from Omaha posted almost a thousand photos — everything from Rome’s streetcorner Marian shrines to Assisi’s, um, interesting plumbing.
If there were an audio track, you’d recognize the mellifluous voice of Kris McGregor of KVSS Radio. Kris joined us for the pilgrimage, and she managed our live and taped broadcasts from the streets, sites, and truck stops of Italy. KVSS has now posted much of that audio. So you can listen as I struggle to be heard over the roar of Roman crowds and the horns of Roman traffic. Scott and Kimberly Hahn were far more successful — as indeed Kris was — but these people are professionals. (Junior says he’ll post video of some of their presentations as soon as he finds the right cable.)
I’m still giddy from the experience. We remembered Clement and Ignatius along the streets they walked themselves. We venerated their relics. We prayed at the tombs of Peter and Paul, Simon and Jude, Philip and James, Francis and Clare. In those days between Ascension and Pentecost, we made an earnest novena to the Holy Spirit. We joined daily for the Holy Eucharist. Our chaplain (joined by four clergy pilgrims) was Father Pablo Gadenz of Trenton, New Jersey, a brilliant young Scripture scholar, and he preached up a storm.
There were some funny moments, like when a bystander berated Scott Hahn for “proselytizing” in his mini-lecture at the Arch of Titus — a lecture addressed, in English, only to our little flock. But the defining moment (for me) came when a Spanish Salesian Brother took one of our pilgrims aside in the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus and observed: “This group is very special. You all have Jesus in your heart.”