Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Return of the pilgrim. . .Buongiorno!

Hallelujah! I'm no longer a "spam blogger" as was the warning I got Sunday when I tried to post. Thanks, for believing me and finding me not a spammer.

Now for an update on our pilgrimage.

Of course, the beginning was stifled somewhat with a canceled flight. So we arrived in Rome on Friday instead of Ascension Thursday and never made it to St Paul outside the Walls. Oh yes, due to the confusion, our baggage never arrived in Rome with us and was later detected by Scott Hahn...NOT Continental. We know Continental didn't care one whit about our bags, but since Scott was also late in arriving, held up in Pittsburgh over night, (also Mike Aquilina & son) he spied our luggage with the blue tags off to the side. He recognized the tag and Kris's name and since mine was there, too, he grabbed them both and that's who we owe our devotion to for finding our stuff.

I hugged Scott Sat. morning and said, "You're my hero!" He said, "Well, you'd better find a better hero." And we had a laugh. I had EVERYTHING in my checked bag, so I'm grateful to him forever! I did have my items to be blessed with me and my carry-on backpack, so that was the most important matter, however, I'm very glad I didn't have to go shopping for clothes etc. in Rome!

The time there was phenomenal! The presence of the Saints, that cloud of witnesses was just so amazingly real and loomed so large to be walking where they walked and stepping onto such holy ground! There were many times we were overcome with emotion, and the highs and lows were intense.

I'll never travel as anything other than a pilgrim now. To be a tourist is unthinkable to me at this point. I'll never travel just to "see things" and say that "I've been there." The friendships forged on this journey during this pilgrimage and the Eucharistic bond is something that will remain in us and with us forever. We are now "brothers and sisters" in a whole new way, a deep and incredible way. To meet other so on fire for the Faith and Holy Mother Church, to have that intimate love for Mary in our hearts, as we "Beheld Our Mother" we'll forever cherish. It was all so overwhelming and powerful.

The most of those overwhelming and powerful moments was when Papa drove by us about 15-20 feet away and I ended up with the best picture of him of our group! Scott told me it could be a "TIME magazine" photo! Mike also thought it was great. I broke down when I scrolled through my camera and found it, because he was moving in the pope mobile and I was shaking like a leaf. It's amazing and such grace to catch him.

We're working on getting a slide show together so I hope to post a link to that. I'd like to put it to music, too, but don't know how that could ever be done. I took over 1000 pictures! I have about 800+ on the show. I'll post some stills as soon as I can. It's a long process.

Rome was "frenetically peaceful" and "peacefully frenetic." It was grueling and being on our feet on cobblestones was sometimes very painful for me, with my "hobbit feet." Dang it if I didn't have the feet of Frodo! They had swollen on the jet, I guess, from sitting so long, (I was in the middle on the way there) and of course not being able to change into my tennies I was tromping all over Rome all day Friday in flip-flops which let me just say is "Lethal" for feet! I had thought we could land, get to the Hotel and change. We could have had our luggage arrived with us.

But as my husband said, "Pilgrimages aren't about comfort." He's right and I knew it, but I wasn't prepared for the literal pain at times. I was assured by a doctor in the group that it wasn't heart or kidney problems, but I really don't know how she could tell by just touching my ankels. Or as I called them "Cankles" as the calf and ankle were all one. Then, telling my son how I'd lived with swollen ankles for 9 days, he proceeded to call them "Swankles" which I concur has a better ring than cankles. Kind of swanky?

Anyway, TODAY, they are finally down to normal, so for that I am grateful.

I won't babble on too long right now, but I will be journaling here as I can't write by hand much at all anymore. I think fast and need to type and my handwriting is horrid. I tried to journal there, but each night I was too exhausted mentally, physically and drained in many ways to sit and write. I had to get my feet WAY UP and try to find some semi-comfortable way to sleep. It was all worth it when my eyes saw Papa B afar off and I watched him get closer and closer! Let me tell you, that was the most powerful of all moments for this former non-Catholic, to see our Holy Father with Catholic/sacramental eyes! Knowing the lineage of this communion of saints from ancient days up to us "saints-in-the-making" was just breathtaking.

More later folks.

I'll see if I can post a few pics now.


1 comment:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Hey i've got those feet from too much blogging! Sounds as though you had an amazing time...tell us more & pictures please!

God bless