It's only the second full day of my first-ever pilgrimage to Rome and I don't even know where to begin describing the wonderful people I've met and the places I've seen.
Yesterday, after the morning Mass at San Clemente, Aaron, one of the seminarians there from the Pontifical North American College--called the NAC for short (pronounced "knack")--recognized me as being from his home archdiocese of Washington. He offered me a tour of the historic campus, so I went there after lunch and got to see the grounds and building, including its stunning rooftop view, which is considered the best in Rome. I'll have photos to post when I come home later this week.
In the evening, Angelicum spiritual theology professor and author Father Paul Murray O.P. graciously let me sit in on his class on St. John of the Cross. His lecture was fantastic, and it was no surprise that the classroom was packed. There must have been about 150 students there, ranging in age from about 20 to 75, and seemingly from all parts of the world.
As the class filed out, my seminarian friend Mike, who helped me orient myself to the city, called me over to see a friend of his, whom I was surprised to discover was someone I had met during a very special time of my life. Spencer was one of my fellow pilgrims when I traveled to England for the American Chesterton Society's 2004 pilgrimage to England. He is now a diocesan seminarian, and traces his vocation to that trip.
The amazing thing about running into Spencer was that I had written on this blog just the day before about how thankful I was for those who had helped to pray me into the Church. When I think of people who prayed for me to have the fullness of faith, I always think of my fellow Chesterton pilgrims, all of whom were Catholic.
Lots more to share, but I'll save it for next time. Continuing to pray for you—yes, you. Please say a prayer for me. This whole trip has been replete with answered prayers and with discovering new joy in the communion of saints.
P.S. This is your daily reminder: Please come to my April 23 book-launch event if you can.