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Thursday, June 2, 2016

St. Peter's Basilica

This was the moment I had been waiting for this entire trip...visiting St. Peter's. We went on a Tuesday morning and while another group of people from our big group went on Saturday, they warned us how awful getting past security was. I was a little nervous but to our surprise I guess on Tuesdays it just isn't as busy. It only took about 20 min tops to get through!

Let me tell you...it truly is magnificent
I just stood there looking all around, taking everything in
balcony the Pope speaks on

The doors to St. Peter's are amazing. 
 They are giant iron doors with gorgeous pictures of Saints and moments in the Catholic History. 
 Here are St. Peter on the right and St. Paul on the left and then under their picture another one of how they were martyred.

Pope Francis declared this year a special Jubilee Year, so many Catholics (or Pilgrims as the locals call them) travel to the Vatican. The Jubilee Year is usually every 25 years and the next on is in 2025. Cameron and I decided that's when we will come back to Rome and bring the kids. Being at St. Peter's during the Holy Year is something special I tell ya :)
During the Jubilee Year these special wooden doors are opened and remain open for the entire year. When you walk through these doors all your sins are washed away.
Needless to saw we walked through them :)

When you walk through the Holy Doors immediately to the right is Michelangelo's famous Pieta
 This work of art is breathtaking. It's behind glass because in the 70's a man came in and took a hammer to Mary's head. Thankfully they restored it to look exactly like the original. It's truly amazing and so grand.

Walking around St. Peter's was just amazing...one of my favorite moments of my life!
 Everything was just so grand and gorgeous!

Saint John Paul II's tomb
 He was Pope while I was a child and has always been very special to me. He came to San Antonio in the 80's and my grandparents and dad went to see mass. My grandparents received communion from him. So special since he is now a Saint.

 The alter at St. Peter's is directly in the center of the church and absolutely magestic. It stands at 96 feet tall! St. Peter's remains are directly below the center of the alter. 
 "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). 
Being in the church I was just overcome with emotion. All the people over the years that died to make the church what it is today is so unreal. 

The dome above the alter. 
We actually got to walk up there...more on that below

By the alter is this statue of St. Peter
You can rub or kiss his feet. Of course I took every opportunity I could to be a part of anything so I walked up, said a prayer and rubbed his feet.

There are four balconies that surround the alter and something special lies behind each on. I only took a picture of 2 because I couldn't get a good view of the others.
Behind this one is a piece of the cross that Jesus was crucified on. I just love the way the light is shining over it.

Behind this one is cloth that Veronica gave Jesus to wipe his face while he was carrying the cross. It is said that his face can still be seen on this cloth.

Behind one of the other balconies is the lance that was stabbed into the side of Jesus when he was on the cross. And behind the last balcony use to be the skull of St. Andrew who was crucified. Those have sense been given to St. Andrew's Catherdral Scotland.

All of art is just gorgeous. 

Baptismal fountain


Something rather interesting is they have glass tombs of 2 of the Popes. These are their actualy bodies. The first one is Pope Innocent XI

The second is of Pope John XXIII. His body was actually covered in wax so it looks more like him when he died.

 If I am being completely honest this was quite interesting to me ;) I was a little in awe that these bodies were just laying here with thousands of people a day walking by to see them.

After the tour upstairs we were led downstairs to the tombs of the Popes. The St. Peter's we were in is actually the second one built. There is a space between the old church and the new church where the tombs of the Popes rest.

An air hole that looks up to the church
right across the way (on the right) from this alter are the remains of St. Peter. You are not allowed to take pictures, video...nothing. It is sacred therefore you have to stay reverent. There are guards there making sure no pictures are taken. All I can say is you have to see this. It's an amazing space that is more then you can imagine. 

After the tour indoors, Cameron and I strayed from the group and decided to climb the 491 stairs to the top of St. Peter's dome.
 It's broken into 2 climbs. First you climb to this level. The you go inside the dome to climb higher. There are signs everywhere that say if you are claustrophobic to not attempt. This was no kidding, the smallest space I have ever been in. 
But so worth the climb!
 I will be honest, I was a little freaked out. You are SO high up. I stood back from the fence and just looked around ;)
The view outside was amazingly perfect! 
 We didn't get to see mass with the Pope which I was quite bummed about. Once we were there I realized that maybe God's plan was to see mass with the Pope for the first time with the kids. I felt peace with that and look forward to coming back in 2025.

I learned so much on this trip. The one thing that stood with me the most was the purpose of the statue in the center of St. Peter's Square.
They placed this statue here because they believe it was the last thing St. Peter saw before he died...crucified upside down in the Circus of Nero. This statue was in his direct eye line when he took his last breath. Standing and staring at the statue brought tears to my eyes. It's men like Peter and Paul that I want my children to look up to and take example from in their lives. These men gave everything to what they believed.
 As we walked out we took one last picture. I felt so happy (and sin free;)). This trip completely rejuvenated my faith. I literally felt like I was given a new set of eyes to see the world and could not wait to get home to share my new feelings with my children.

1 comments:

  1. Such an amazing trip!!! Love all the pics, especially the one of u and Cam on the moped! Lol. Now I can't wait for a summer update post!

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