Italy, In Their Own Words

Italy, In Their Own Words

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PHOTO CREDITS: Emily Clementi, Marcella De Salvo, Deidra Reiff

In April 2018, Regina Trips brought 20 young US Catholics to Italy for nine days of exploring Catholic history, spirituality and culture. Here are their photos and reflections on that experience in Rome, Norcia, Assisi and Florence. (Interested? Next, we go to Ireland and England in August – but hurry, as we close these Trips in mid-June!)

ANTIPASTO IN ROME: “I had expected to see a lot of beautiful churches, and eat some really good food. I was a little worried going into the trip that I was not going to fit in with everyone, because I do not regularly attend Latin Mass. Looking back, that seems like a stupid thing to be worried about!”

AT THE PANTHEON IN ROME: “People came into this trip with all different backgrounds, and were open and accepting of one another. I also had some expectations for myself. This was my first experience on a religious trip of any kind. I wanted to go into this trip with an open mind, and really challenge myself to grow in holiness and knowledge of the Catholic faith through this experience.”

“I was expecting a “hands on” or “boots on the ground” experience. It was exactly what I expected but even more than I could have imagined! I wanted an Italian Spiritual Adventure, and that’s what I got.” Father David Jenuwine, Trip Chaplain

MICHELANGELO’S PIETA, ST PETER’S: “It was a pilgrimage more than a vacation. It was a wonderful experience that I will carry with me for a long time, and it changed me.”

Rome, the Eternal City

DAY ONE: THE BRIDGE OF ANGELS, OVER THE TIBER. “I can’t describe the feeling of being jet-lagged and standing in the center of Rome, watching the sun go down.”

ON THE WAY INTO THE SCAVI UNDERNEATH ST PETER’S: “We did more in nine days than most pilgrimages do in a month. It was full of activities and sights and overwhelming in the best sense of that word.”

IN THE SCAVI, EXPLORING ANCIENT ROME: “Our group really got to know each other, started to bond that afternoon.”

AT THE ROMAN FORUM: “People's personalities and sense of humor came out as we toured the ruins of ancient Rome. Truly one of my favorite days ever!”

Fr. Jenuwine saying Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica.

“IT GAVE ME A NEW APPRECIATION FOR THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH. There were people from all over the world, who all speak different languages, but because of the universality of the Church and the Mass we were totally united in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Christ. So Cool!!”

HAVING THE MORNING TO EXPLORE ST. PETER'S: “It is such a holy, beautiful place. Seeing the tomb of Pope John Paul II, and having a holy hour in the Blessed Sacrament chapel is something I will never forget.”

“DAY TWO IN ROME IT RAINED LIKE I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. After spending the morning touring St. Peter's I went back to the hotel to change my shoes before we started the tour of the Scavi. I was soaking wet by the time I got back to the hotel. I asked the front desk if there was any way I could dry my clothes, because a puddle was literally forming around me! They gave me a super old blow dryer! hahaha! I put on some boots and dry clothes, and on my way back down stairs I was praying Hail Mary's and was pleading with God to protect me from the rain. I turned the corner, and it was still downpouring, but the hotel had put out umbrellas! I felt so loved by God at that moment! The entire way back to St. Peter's I was thanking and praising God.”

 

HELPING Fr. ANTHONY TALK OUR WAY INTO ST. PETER'S EARLY IN THE MORNING: “The whole thing still feels rather surreal, like the part where I was standing outside the sacristy swiping the app pages on my iPhone back and forth trying to pretend I was supposed to be there.”


“I WANTED TO EXPERIENCE THE RICHNESS OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH in the presence of good, faithful company and beautiful, holy scenery including experiences like daily Mass; touring of Cathedrals/Monasteries; visiting with Religious; Adoration; Liturgy of the Hours; Rosary; Prayer Meditations; praying as a group; spiritual direction; etc.”

“ATTENDING MASS IN ST. PETER'S and then meeting Sister Mary Gabriel of the Sisters of Life afterward. I think she's amazing, and their Order is inspiring. I have been slightly obsessed with them for quite some time! To be able to meet her in Italy, I truly felt God blessing me in that moment!”

JUST OFF THE ANCIENT APPIAN WAY we stepped into the gardens above the Catacombs, where a half a million Christians were buried in the first centuries after Christ.

MASS IN THE CATACOMBS: “It was such a humbling, hallowing, intimate, and personal experience of our faith. It is one of those things that you just don’t get to do every day.”

“MEALS TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY: Good food and good company, such a casual and comfortable setting are always a good combination!”

“AND DID I MENTION THE FOOD?! Good thing we did so much walking – sometimes as much as 7-9 miles a day!”

”THERE WAS NOTHING THAT WAS NOT ENJOYABLE. If anything, it was the rain … but even that was part of the adventure.”

Fr. JOHN ARCIDIACONO LEADS THE ROSARY ON THE BUS: “Daily prayer is not something I've really taken time for since college, but this trip helped to me to realize that is something that is really lacking in my life. Basically, this trip helped me to realize that I have not truly been answering the call to holiness, and small things I can introduce into my daily routine to change that.”

Norcia

AT THE EARTHQUAKE-DEMOLISHED BASILICA OF ST BENEDICT, NORCIA: “It was the community that made this trip so incredibly unique.”

 

AFTER LUNCH WITH THE MONKS OF NORCIA: “I not only made unforgettable memories and did things I never would have been able to do had I traveled on my own, but I made life- long friendships and found life-long mentors.”

DINNER AT THE FARMHOUSE IN NORCIA: “Coming together for fellowship after spending most of the afternoon in a contemplative state, and sharing how we were affected by it in different ways was really special to me.”

Norcia Beer available Here.

”I LOVED THE QUIET MOMENTS IN NORCIA AND ASSISI, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, where we were able to relax, and pray, and eat, and enjoy each other’s company.”

Assisi

“I WAS HOPING THAT THIS TRIP would present the opportunity to travel with a group of solid Catholic young adults who were truly invested in  their faith. I did not want to just go on any vacation, or pilgrimage for that matter – I wanted to see and experience the Catholic tradition in the company of – and through the eyes of – the vibrant heart of the Church.”

Florence

ON TOP OF THE DUOMO IN FLORENCE: “After 320 steps up, we were rewarded with a glorious 360 degree view of Florence and Tuscany. “

SACRED ART SCHOOL, FLORENCE: “Fascinating evening visit to a school where the classical sacred arts are being revived, followed by supper with some faculty and students.”

“AFTERWARDS SOME OF US WENT FOR DINNER, AND THEN TO A LOCAL JAZZ CLUB THAT FELT KIND OF LIKE A SPEAK EASY. One of the students at the art school we toured told us about it. There was no sign on the door, and the club is actually in the basement, and you had to be members to get in. They had a band playing from midinght-2am. We had some drinks and danced to Italian/American Jazz music. Looking around you could tell the club was filled with mostly local people. It was just a really special and unique experience that I don't think many people get when they go to Florence. We had a great time!”

VIEW FROM THE CONVENT of the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of the Institute of Christ the King in Gricigliano, Italy. The Sisters' charism is to live a non-cloistered life of prayer; they also make beautiful vestments.

Fr John Arcidiacono, our Trip Chaplain, speaks with some of the Sisters in their garden.

Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart Novices of the Sisters Adorers (white veils) with a Sister outside their convent. 

 

 

”EVERYONE FROM OUR TRIP WHO HAS POSTED ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE seems to share the sentiment that one of the most cherished parts of this trip is the bonds we formed with one another. A lot of us did get really close.”

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest International Seminary Gricigliano, Italy.

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right whose goal is the honor of God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Church and souls. Its specific aim is missionary: to spread the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ in all spheres of human life. Our work is carried out under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, to Whom the Institute is consecrated.

Cara Clementi (REGINA Traveler), Abbé Samuel Kubacki of ICKSP (an American Seminarian), and long time friends of REGINA Marcella De Salvo and Laura Giombini.

DRAWING IN FIESOLE: “What a unique experience! I am not particularly good at drawing, but that morning was peaceful and reflective, and a great bonding experience for our group.”

“I FEEL SO BLESSED to have had the opportunity to go on the trip to Italy. I feel as though I came away from the trip a stronger person, a smarter person, and with a true desire to be a better person.”

LIFE CHANGING. IT REALLY WAS. Every day I felt so humbled to be surrounded by such beauty, and to be walking in places that some of the greatest Catholic saints have also walked.”

 

THIS TRIP FAR SURPASSED AND SHATTERED ANY EXPECTATIONS THAT I HAD COMING INTO IT. Sure, there were beautiful Cathedrals, gorgeous scenery, and an abundance of truly delicious food. All that in-and-of-itself would have made the trip more than worthwhile.”

BUT IT WAS THE EXPERIENCE of walking through these Cathedrals, and taking in the scenery, and breaking bread with my dear friends and priests that made these moments all the more memorable.”

WE HAD SUCH A GREAT TIME and made some great friends along the way. Thank you for all the work you put into planning it and the creativity in many of our off the beaten path stops.”

I MADE MEMORIES THROUGH THESE EXPERIENCES and these people that settled deep in my bones, and my lungs, and my soul… We may not be in Italy anymore, but our community endures, and these beautiful memories live on. For that – both on the trip, and afterwards – I am incredibly thankful.”

Special thanks to the Monks of Norcia, Donate Here.
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest Gricigliano, Italy. Donate Here
Sisters Adorers of Royal Heart Donate to the Sisters here 
Sacred Art School, Florence
Laura Giombini
Marcella De Salvo
Giancarlo Polenghi
Tom Byrne
Brian Wolf

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you want to experience a REGINA Trip, we do have a few more seats left for Ireland  (Aug 11-Aug 19) and for England (Aug 25-Sept 2). Questions? Message us on Facebook at Regina Magazine or  through our Contact page here – but hurry, as we will close these Trips in mid-June!

 

 

 

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