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Published: July 28th 2014
April 25, 2014 Rome
Rise and shine! Well this is the big day; time to greet the Bishop. In the morning, his excellency the Archbishop of Baltimore said our mass. It was done with parts in English and Polish. The mass was beautiful and afterwards I got to meet the Bishop, our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and his wife, and Count Enrico Demaio the head of i Cavalieri di Colombo, Italy. The Knights are very active with the Vatican, restoring many of the beautiful sites the world enjoys. When introduced I greeted him with a hearty “piacere.” He smiled for a moment acknowledged my sign of respect and returned a piacere back. I totally marked out as well and kissed the ring of the Archbishop. He did not expect it, but I am an old school kind of guy and enjoy our traditions very much. The Anderson’s were equally as pleasant. After Mass I set out with the poles to St. Peters.
The bus was overrun by us and when I turned around Ray was on the outside as the door shut. I gave him the “what happened” look and said look for us at
the Vatican. The bus ride was tight and hot as the Italians dislike air conditioning for some reason. It really is equally strange for them. as they always ask me why we Americans love it so much. I met Ray and Jackie at the square and we waited in line for hours. The rain passed but the sun was strong. We still were blown away by the Basilica of St. Peter. We saw the addition of John Paul II tomb. It was rather modest compared to the glorious tombs of former Popes. More of a modern style that promotes simplicity than the larger than life tombs of the Popes of old. Afterwards, we tried to fit in as much as possible. We covered the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Castle Angelo, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the triumph arch. After walking around 7 miles we were tired and returned back to the fields. The poles were having adoration so after a little rest we joined them.
Now adoration in the states is very solemn. You go in, you get your grace and you leave in silence. However, the poles incorporated singing and prayer between spots of
quiet meditation. Afterwards you go up to the priest who gives you a blessing with the monstrance, which ended the ceremony. It was a very moving experience. The choir was fantastic. It has been a while so I decided to get spiritual tune up as confession was being offered...unfortunately, not in English. The priest realizing I did not speak polish merely pointed to the rosary as my penance, in what I thought, was a very compassionate act of mercy. The piety of these people really inspired me. At the mass their priest gave a really short speech about being knights and going into their communities to do our work. Hard to find priests that are that committed. He also led his group of mostly young adults between 18 - 22 as one of them. Sometimes priests can walk among us but not be one of us. I did not feel that way about this man. I felt that he was a leader rather than just an employee of the Bishop. Afterwards, we game planned for the next day and got some rest. Tomorrow we take the Vatican!
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