Monday, May 2, 2011

Pope John Paul II “The Last Encounter”

In front of St. Peter's Basilica Square

Breath-taking view on top of the St. Peter's Basilica
Seating at Rome's Trevi Fountain
In front of the basilica with my cousin and the Swiss guard.
Michelangelo's work of art in the ceiling.
At the St. Peter's Tomb
In one of the most difficult times of my life and when escaping was the only way out, my family stood as my shock absorber. I was lucky indeed to have a very supportive family that was then based abroad and who gave me chances to contemplate and think on how I should I handle my personal life. My relatives believed that divine intervention would be of great help to me to finally think of the best decision regarding my personal dilemma at that time. I traveled abroad way back 2004 and went thru different and significant churches in Rome, Italy for some soul-searching and spiritual counseling. One of the churches I visited was the St. Peter’s Basilica. It was considered a major basilica in Vatican City, an enclave of Rome. According to my research, “St. Peter's Basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter - the apostle who is considered the first pope - was crucified and buried. St. Peter's tomb is under the main altar and many other popes are buried in the basilica as well. Originally founded by Constantine in 324, St. Peter's Basilica was rebuilt in the 16th century by Renaissance masters including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini.” I also witnessed with my own two eyes the wonderful art works of Michaelangelo.
The closer we'll ever see..priceless!

It was indeed a great pleasure for me to experience this breath-taking overview on top of the St. Peter’s Basilica. What more intensifying goose bump experience was when I first saw Pope John Paul II during his usual blessing ceremony held every Wednesday at the St. Peter’s Square. The Pope gives blessing to the public audience every Wednesday. Tickets should be requested ahead of time from the Vatican. We were just lucky to have some family friends whom a diocesan priest studying from the Commission on Pontificio Collegio Filippino (ECPCF) who help us on securing an entrance ticket. The PCF is the home in Rome of Filipino diocesan priests who have been sent abroad by their bishops to pursue higher ecclesiastical studies. Pope John Paul II looked weak, but then he kept waving his hand to bless the people around him who came from the other parts of the world to see him and seek his blessings.
Photos taken inside the coliseum, it was the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman Architecture and engineering. It is the largest amphitheater in the world. 

The waiting is over. Recently, Pope John Paul II was beatified. No words can best describe the novel works and sacrifices of our beloved Pope John Paul II for Christianity. He is a step closer to becoming a saint. I felt so much blessed as I was given a chance to have an encounter with him, even though not that close a range. But at least before he finally left and went to the heavenly realm, we crossed paths and I was able to say goodbye.


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