When in Rome… do as the Roman Catholic


Fortunately, I am a Catholic. This week is a special week for Catholics. It is the beginning of the Lenten season which officially starts with Ash Wednesday. I feel very honored to be within walking distance of the Vatican and to be able to walk my Lenten path near the seat of the Catholic faith.

I was able to spend the day at the Vatican in prayer and meditation. My day started with a papal audience and I listened to his message of peace for Ukraine and respect to our elders who have so much wisdom to impart and are often pushed aside in society. I toured St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in wonder and awe at the gift of artistry in everything I saw. Did you know the “paintings” in the Basilica are actually mosaics? The decision to preserve the actual painting was made and Venice supplied over 15,000 colors of mosaic ceramic to recreate the great works of art in mosaic-fascinating!

The situation in the Ukraine is concerning because it is so close to us, as opposed to being back in the United States and it then it seems so far away. We had a brief conversation about how the students are feeling in this time of turmoil and uncertainty. Most of the students felt angry and only a little frightened at what a war could mean for us in a foreign country. We all agreed though that we did not want to return before our semester was complete. We have all made a home here, friendships and bonds have been created and to be suddenly uprooted would be difficult. In Italy, we do not hear very much talk about the Ukraine, life goes on as usual.

My Lenten path this year will be to pray and fast for peace. Peace for the people and children of the Ukraine.