Pilgrimage to Rome April 2018
From Karen Bennett.When I saw Father Ben was organising a pilgrimage to Rome I was overjoyed.
I have visited The Eternal City before, including St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, as a tourist. However, even though I had been greatly moved by their beauty and grandeur on that occasion, I felt the need for a more spiritual visit so I could feel the presence of God more strongly in this most special city.
There were many occasions during our pilgrimage when I felt close to The Lord. Father Ben and Father Francis celebrating mass in one of the wonderful chapels within St Peter's before it was opened up to the general tourists, was one such moment. Another was the Papal Audience; sharing the joy and exhilaration of seeing The Holy Father along with thousands of pilgrims from across the globe.
It was during our mass at The Basilica of St Lawrence Outside the Walls, celebrated at the high altar above the crypt containing the tombs of our patronal saint and Saint Stephen, though that I truly felt most blessed.
I would like to thank Father Ben for organising this deeply spiritual experience and Father Francis for being our spiritual guide, as well as my fellow pilgrims for their company, Iove and support.
FROM MARY WATSON
As this was my first trip to Rome, I was very excited.... We celebrated mass before we left Edenbridge, and there met our group of fellow pilgrims.
We stayed in a simply and very friendly convent 10 minutes walk from the Vatican. The pace of our days were 'full on', we packed so much in, and with the help and guidance of Fr. Francis and Fr. Ben (at the churches and public transport!) we travelled around with ease.
St. Paul's Basilica, St. Peter's tomb and papal audience were highlights for me, although it is hard t pick because there was so much to take in and at times quite overwhelming.
I have so much still to process, it felt a very blessed experience and even in the busyness, I was able to experience calm and stillness.
I had a great sense of joy throughout the trip, it was wonderful to step out of the everyday journey and share with others in this wonderful way.