We’ve been busy the past few days! On Tuesday, we saw the tomb of St. Peter (no photos allowed, sadly!) It was so cool to learn how thousands of years after his death, an archaeological dig discovered that directly beneath the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica were the bones of a first century man from the middle east who died in his 70s (and no foot bones were found – something you wouldn’t find in the tomb of a man who was crucified upside-down!)
Also on Tuesday, we had Mass in the cell of St. Ignatius of Loyola with Fr. Carola, a Jesuit who knows many priests and seminarians of SJV and SPS.
On Thursday, we went to the Vatican Museums and received an excellent tour from Dr. Elizabeth Lev. The tour culminated in the Sistine Chapel (again, no photos permitted.) One of my takeaways was that in the earliest days of Christianity, Christians would use imagery of Jonah and the whale to symbolize Christ’s death and resurrection because criminals were still actively being crucified and it was considered too gruesome to depict Jesus on the cross. Below is a photo of an early Christian sarcophagus from the period immediately after it became legal to be Christian.
Yesterday, we had Mass in one of the largest catacombs, where St. Cecelia and some of the earliest Popes were buried. Again, no pictures were allowed.
A few of us went on a side trip to Bologna today – we were able to have Mass in the cell of St. Dominic, again with Fr. Joseph Carola.
St. Dominic is also buried in Bologna – here’s a photo of the side chapel where he is buried.