Thursday, 1 June 2017

Holy tourism?

I had no plans to go visiting all the churches in Rome!  In fact, had booked my return ticket on the same day the meeting concludes.  However, did the mistake of not really noticing that the meeting ends on Wednesday and not on Thursday.  Even then I was not keen on running around in Rome. Was only keen on meeting Fr Joshtrom.  Most of the confreres were quite surprised that I was not going to visit the Vatican... as if Pope Francis had cancelled all his appointments to meet me!

Anyway, Fr Joshtrom and Anthaiah and Prakash said that since I had practically a whole day, I should go and see at least St Peter's basilica.  And so Anthaiah and Prakash 'took' me to the place.  We stood in the queue for a little more than an hour just to get in the basilica.

First impression:  Too beautiful!  Magnificent!
Second impression: So beautiful that it serves better as a tourist spot than a place of worship!

Anyway, spent some time in prayer and some in seeing the grandeur of the church.
That's Anthaiah and Prakash

Don't know what that is but found it amusing while waiting for a traffic signal to cross the road
From there visited a few other churches, the Pantheon (great architecture of the early AD dedicated to the 'gods', later converted into a church!), went hunting for the skull of St Agnes and Augustine!  Found the former but only in time to be told that the Church was closing!  Except the basilicas most churches are closed for 'lunch break' in Rome.  The latter we never found.  That meant quite some walking along the Roman cobblestone pavements! Had lunch at an Indian restaurant run by Bangladeshis!  Took a quick walk through Termini, the central bus and train station of Rome before boarding the bus to return to UPS.

Anyway, am really grateful to Anthaiah and Prakash for spending the whole day for and with me!

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