Holy Week in Rome - 2019
Over Holy Week and Easter, 43 Year 7 students and 5 staff journeyed to Rome on pilgrimage to the tomb of the apostles, Peter and Paul. During our stay we took in the sights and sounds of one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in the world with history at every turn, and even beneath our feet.
We explored the glory that was ancient, imperial Rome with its forums, theatres and circuses, the most impressive of which was the Colosseum, where Romans witnessed the brutal spectacle of gladiators fighting to the death and of the first Christian martyrs being fed to wild beasts.
We even descended below ground into the Catacombs of San Callisto, one of the sacred burial sites of the early followers of Christ.
We experienced the majesty of Christian Rome, especially the mighty Basilica of St Peter’s thronged with thousands of tourists - and in then in complete contrast, my personal favourite - St Paul’s Outside the Walls, the cool marble enclosing the vast, empty, peaceful space within, a witness to the enduring value of prayer and contemplation in the midst of bustling modern city living.
We spent a many enjoyable hours strolling round the cobbled streets in the Roman sunshine, enjoying the piazzas and fountains, the markets, shops and cafes, not to mention the restaurants where we filled up on authentic Roman cuisine.
Our day trip took us out of the city to Assisi, the hill - top town which was home to both St Francis and St Clare. The town commands stunning views and we enjoyed eating our picnic in an olive grove overlooking the plain of Assisi below. The town has an atmosphere of peace and prayer, being the cradle of the Franciscan spirituality. Our present Pope selected his name in honour of St Francis who chose to live his life in Gospel simplicity, close to the poor, just as Jesus had done.
Once again our thanks go to many people who made our pilgrimage such a wonderful experience.
As usual, a big, ‘thankyou’ goes to Heather and Les from Glovers Coaches, not just for getting us safely to all the places we wanted to be, but also for their friendship and companionship. It is lovely to see them each year and our pilgrimage would not be the same without them.
Part of the joy of the whole experience is staying at Villa Palazzola on the shores of Lake Albano, and the wonderful hospitality offered us there by Mena, Giorgia, Francesco, Joyce, Giuseppe, Julie and all the staff who are always so friendly and accommodating. There will be no school trip anywhere which enjoys such a stunning location with such fabulous food. Palazzola really is the most beautiful base from which to explore the city and its surrounds.
Last and certainly not least - our wonderful students. A big thankyou to you all. You were great fun and very polite. Our guide to the catacombs commented that we were the best and most observant group he had ever had the pleasure to lead. You were a great credit to your parents and to the college. It was a pleasure for the staff to share our Easter with you.