Today was an experience of beautiful Roman art. We started with mass this morning at Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the only gothic church in Rome, and the resting place of Catherine of Siena. Then we were met by renowned art scholar Dr. Elizabeth Lev who took us on a tour of the Pantheon and surrounding churches. The highlights of the tour for me was finding the resting place of St. Monica, St. Augustine's mom, and seeing famous two famous works by Caravaggio: Madonna of the Pilgrims and The Calling of St. Matthew. I have studied these works in art classes and just assumed they were in museums somewhere. I was thrilled to find that they are actually in their original locations, still being used to foster worship.
St. Catherine of Siena's tomb
The interior of the Pantheon
St. Monica's tomb
Madonna of the Pilgrims
The Calling of St. Matthew
After lunch I left the group in order to finish preparing some talks, and I finally got to visit St. Peter's Basilica. You actually have to go through security, which surprised me, but after getting in I was awed by the size and the majesty of the place. The first thing I did was climb to the top of the dome, then I spent quite a bit of time in adoration, then I explored the inside of the church.
St. Peter's Square from the roof
The dome as seen from the roof. The pillars above the curved part of the dome are the point-of-view for the previous picture.
The back of the statues above the front of the basilica.
The Sistine Chapel from the basilica's roof.
The immensity of St. Peter's
The crypt of the church
Just a Swiss Guard being awesome
In the evening, I connected with the the pilgrims from Holy Trinity in Cheyenne for another delicious dinner at a random street side restaurant. What a great day!