A day of rest, on a pilgrimage - no chance!!
It was such a busy day it has taken me three days to write about it here! Well in all fairness we did have a more relaxed breakfast, we did not need to leave the hotel until 8.45am, which is late in comparison to some of the other mornings we've had. Our first stop was up the hill to the NAC (North American College), where we had a beautiful Mass and then brunch with the seminarians. They were all very welcoming and showed us around. They definitely have one of the best views in Rome from their rooftop.
From the NAC we headed down to St Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with the Pope and to listen to his message. We were in for a big surprise - he welcomed us, the young people of St Patrick's Evangelisation School! We all looked at each other wondering if we had heard him correctly. Yes we had! We were shocked and very pleased that our Holy Father had mentioned us and welcomed us to Rome.
Still in shock we headed towards the Venerable English College where we were due to have lunch and a tour. Again we were made very welcome. For some of us it was a chance to catch up with some of the seminarians that we know from back in England and a chance to see how they are getting on. We arrived during exam time so both seminaries were a little quieter than others.
From the English College we began our afternoon of being 'tourists' rather than 'pilgrims', although we still ended up in some Churches on route. We visited the Patheon, Trevi Fountain and finally Spanish Steps - all of which were beautiful, especially on such a nice day as we had. AtSpanish Steps we had some real Italian ice-cream, which was long overdue.
Right beside Spanish Steps is the congregation that Sr Mary, our Parish Sister, belongs to so we had arranged to call in and visit them. They are a lovely congregation and considering two of them that we met are Irish they had some real tea for us. We were told the story of their congregation, the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, which has its roots here in Soho. We had a lovely evening with them and then it was time to head back to our hotel for our last night in Rome.