Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Left My (old) Heart In Rome! (Part 1)

 I'm back from my pilgrimage and BOY, it was nearly impossible to know where to begin writing about this experience! Even though I kept a steady journal, it's difficult to put some things in words.  Ultimately, summarizing from the first Gospel reading the day we arrived, seemed best.  It was one of those situations where "new wine has been poured into fresh wineskins." (Mark 2:18-22)  

I think this was true of all 13 of us by the time the trip was over...We left part of our old selves behind, made new by the fruits of our journey.
Thank you to those who were encouragers!
Note: I decided to break these posts up in parts since it might take days to read, otherwise! 
Disclaimer: I share this experience with no intentions to flaunt in any way.  It is my hope that friends will be encouraged to shine their own light after reading and viewing the photos here. 
I took all prayer requests seriously, as you will read a long the way.  If you sent me one, I typed it up and carried it wherever I went, offering them up every chance I had.  I pray that you have felt extra cared for these past few weeks...Know you are loved and heard!

Approaching this trip with hopes of being transformed, I got what I asked for!  Day 1 brought illness that plagued me the entire trip.  The horrible cough was the worst part (that's still hanging on)!  However, when all was said and done, it was nothing short of a gift.  A gift that helped me leave my self and my own needs behind.  It helped me smile when I didn't feel like smiling, keep silent when I felt like whining, and go when I just felt like staying in bed.  After all, I had prayer requests to deliver and I felt a big responsibility and duty to that:) About half of the other pilgrims eventually got some form of what we coined the "pilgrim plague" so I wasn't alone!  {Thankfully by some miracle, I didn't spread it to my roomie:}. She was quite a trooper to put up with my coughing and snoring...I'm certain that was her cross to bear!
I think it would be safe to say that the theme was constant renewal for most of us...It was one amazing grace after another, not to mention the steady rain that cleansed us.

St. Peter's Square was still glorious in the rain!
It didn't rain the whole time but it sure rained a LOT.
This little nugget proved significant because we walked so much (in it) that we barely noticed after a while...That's saying something if you were one of the pilgrims.  I would gather to say that most of us lost ourselves in the rain to find something beautiful waiting for us on the other side.

Right off the bat, we were dropping our jaws over the most spectacular Papal Audience seats!  It turns out that one of our guides had connections to the Vatican through his work with Vatican Radio.  It was a WOW moment, to say the least!
These were our seats, just a few rows from the stage!  Everyone around us was buzzing with excitement to see PAPA FRANCESCO!
Here come the nuns, who were just excited as we were:)

It is so wonderful to see many faiths come together here!

And finally he arrived!
It was definitely one of those moments when you find yourself wondering if this is really happening?" A few of us (I won't give away names) *wink* soon became know as the "Poperazzi!"

Pinch me!

I was thrilled to capture one of those classic moments of the Holy Father who kisses this beautiful child. 
I have always seen things like this in the news and now I was seeing it LIVE…It was just unbelievable!

 My zoom wasn't perfectly clear but it worked pretty well:)

Pope Francis spoke about Christian Unity since that was the theme for the week.  More on that to come:)

Who doesn't love the Swiss Guards?!

...And Papa finally got to the stage!

More in Part 2 , Part 3, and Part 4, as we Walked In The Footsteps of The Saints... 

 As we soon found out, this is the name of a college course that Dave (our fearless leader with a PhD in Theology...Soon to be priest:) has taught (at a local Catholic college) for many years.  He has led groups of students on this journey but we were his first group of adults!  Together with his connections with other theologians in Rome, you can only imagine the magnitude of what we learned...We were so, so, blessed!


  1. Beautiful! Can't wait to read more!

  2. How thrilling!!! I love the theme that you picked out, too. Very simple yet mighty, just like the pope! I can only imagine how surreal it all felt. My goodness...the seats were amazing! So exciting and I look forward to the next post with great anticipation!! (PS...thanks for caring all of our prayer requests!)

  3. Oh how I have been waiting for this post :-) What a beautiful experience you had and I cannot wait to hear more about it. Thank you SO much for keeping us all in prayer, Tiffany. I truly appreciate it sweet friend. Glad to have you back here!

  4. What fabulous photos of the Holy Father! You had such great seats! I was there last June and managed to get a picture as the pope-mobile went by. It was warm and sunny so no need for a covering on his vehicle. What a thrill to have been there! Looking forward to the next post!

  5. Yay!! I have a hard time getting the computer these days, but every time I do, I have been hoping to hear about your trip!!! So, so exciting!!

  6. Thank you for sharing your journey! You are NOT a flaunter in any way, so please don't be worried about that :) I'm sorry you were under the weather, but I love your positive attitude! Thank you for being such a blessing!

  7. Oh, Tiffany, how I would love to go to Italy someday! You are blessed, and those you prayed for are blessed by your love and friendship. I look forward to hearing more about your trip. (I know you are home now, but would you please pray for a private intention for me? <3) +JMJ+

  8. Thank you all for stopping by and sharing your comments! It's so exciting to share it with all of you dear friends:) I truly do feel like I took you with me in my thoughts and prayers!

  9. What a beautiful story! And such beautiful pictures, too! God bless you; I can almost feel the piety and excitement that you carried with you throughout the pilgrimage. Thank you so very, very much! I was one of those who sent you a prayer request. I will always treasure your generosity...

    1. Thank you, Marcia! It was a blessing to pray for you:)

  10. Hi Tiffany!
    I'm a little late with getting to read all about your amazing adventure and pilgrimage! I got goose bumps just reading this first post and how you got to see the Pope LIVE! Oh my goodness! I got excited for you! I'm sorry you weren't feeling 100% physically, but I assume spiritually you were healthy as ever! :) Can't wait to read Part 2 now... :)


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