group of greeters at our neighborhood church in Rome.
I hope y'all don't mind if I tell some hear about my recent trip to Italy and France. First, there is the church we stayed closest to in Rome. When we lived in Rome, Georgia, St. Peter's Episcopal Church was our church home, so it was natural that the other Saint Peter's would become our church while in the other Rome.
We slept close against the walls of Vatican City with our lovely neighborhood church being Saint Peter's Basilica. We were present to here an absolutely beautiful choir sing for an afternoon Mass. We also stumbled in on a Wednesday general audience and were able to stand just about 25 feet from where Benedict XVI passed by waving cheerfully as he was driven amongst the crowd in a cart down at our height. It was a good way of working the crowd. He didn't get as good a look at me as he might have liked, but I saw him pretty well.
Honestly, I have long had a problem with this church. It's construction touched off the Reformation, which divided the Christians in the west and led to much strife and bloodshed. (For more on that see the sermon in the archives One Simple Truth). But, they did build an amazing basilica. My pictures here can not begin to capture the scale of the immense worship space. And then there are the details like the famous Pieta, showing Jesus in his mother's arms being just inside the entrance on the right.
And then that Catholic desire to entomb saints under altars had me standing at an altar containing the bones of Saint Gregory Naizianzus. Little known in general, he was a towering theologian of the early church and I admire his life and writings and was more struck by standing there at his grave/altar than I would have thought possible. Touring Catholic Italy would give me pause to consider this more than once and I'll come back around to the saints and saints relics again.
But I know I am not the only well traveled on here in this corner of cyberspace. What are others' impressions of Saint Peter's or other cathedrals on such a grand scale? Do they leave you breathless with God's presence? Wondering at human construction ability?
Where do you routinely experience God's presence most fully?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
little neighborhood church in Rome: