Well, I arrived Tuesday in Rome after a pretty smooth day of travel.
While waiting for my bags at the airport, I ran into Fr. Eduardo Ortega and three young men whom he was leading on a pilgrimage.
Some of you might remember that Fr. Eduardo accompanied our Word on Fire team during our filming in Mexico City.
There is a YouTube video of me with Fr. Eduardo
during the five minute duration of which I exhausted my entire Spanish vocabulary!
Later in the day, I ran into him again at St. Peter’s Square.
One of the things I love most about Rome is that it is such a crossroad for the universal church.
When you stand in St. Peter’s Square, you hear dozens of languages and you almost invariably meet someone you know.
Yesterday I got settled in my charming little apartment, which is literally built into the wall that surrounds the North American College compound.
With the help of a very skilled tech person, I set up my computer and printer and plugged into the internet.
In the morning, I commenced work on the book which will eventually accompany our ten part Catholicism
series, completing about 1600 words, which is the count I have to reach every working day if I’m to finish before coming home.
Then, after siesta (a lovely Italian custom which I wish we would adopt), I wandered down the hill to St. Peter’s in order to visit the tomb of John Paul II.
I had promised several people back home that I would pray for them there.
I was deeply impressed by the size and fervor of the crowd. Many people fell to their knees or pressed objects to the tomb; others simply closed their eyes and prayed in silence. Five years after his death, John Paul still exercises an enormous appeal. I took the time to thank John Paul for sending out the call to the new evangelization, a summons without which Word on Fire would not exist. I then specifically prayed for all of the wonderful people who work with me in the Word on Fire office and make our internet ministry possible. John Paul II, pray for us!
(Tomb of John Paul II, Vatican Grottoes)