Rome

Our Call in the Calling of Saint Matthew

"The Calling of Matthew" (detail) - Caravaggio

“Who am I in the painting? How will I respond?” In today’s Gospel, we have a short account of Jesus’ call of Matthew by the man himself. He only spends a few verses on what was the pivotal moment of his life. He mentions simply that he was a tax collector, and that Jesus called him out of his daily […]

The Mother and Head of All Churches

Today we celebrate the feast of the Dedication of Lateran Basilica in Rome. This church is the mother and head of all the churches of the city of Rome and the world.  This title might seem a little odd to us, since we tend to think of St. Peter’s Basilica as being the most important church for Catholics.  As Bishop […]

In Defense of Beautiful Churches

I’m currently leading a pilgrimage in Italy, and one of my favorite parts of these pilgrimages—showing people the beauty of the Church—is often used by people who are looking to criticize the Church. Why does the Church have extravagant churches? Shouldn’t they sell all that art and gold and give the money to the poor? At first glance, the critique […]

Fight with one hand, build with the other

I am preparing to take a group over to Rome on pilgrimage, which is one of my favorite parts of my job as director of Adult Formation for the diocese of Nashville. I will actually be staying in Rome for several days after the pilgrimage as well, to film episodes of 3 Minute Theology on location. Admittedly, this is an […]

The Witness of Peter and Paul

"The Martyrdom of St. Peter" (detail) by Caravaggio

One of the most remarkable places to experience while visiting Rome is a small dark room under Vatican hill.  Very few tourists even know its existence, and access is limited to 250 people a day.   In a city filled with art, this room is bare.  A tour guide shepherds you into the room, and then points through a large […]

On Pilgrimage

"Saint Peter's Basilica, Sant'Angelo bridge, by night, Rome, Italy" by Jebulon [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

This time last week, I was on pilgrimage in Italy. One of my favorite parts of my job is leading trips to places in important to our Catholic faith. While you might assume it’s my favorite because it means traveling to Europe, seeing the Pope, and eating good food, it’s actually my favorite for a different reason. I get to […]

A religion of love or hate?

"Triumph of faith - christian martyrs in the time of Nero" by Eugene Thirion [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Each year after celebrating the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, we follow up their celebration the day after with the feast of the First Martyrs of Rome. This feast honors all those unknown men and women who gave their life in witness to the Christian faith in the first days of the Church. The first martyr of the West […]

Travel Lessons for Life: Planning and Letting Go

Life should be approached the same way one approaches a trip to Rome. If you have been to Rome, you know that the only predictable thing about a trip to Rome is the unpredictability.  A store will close when you need it opened, a funeral will be happening in a church you wanted to visit, the Pope will decide to […]

The Scavi: Discovering the Tomb of the Rock

Saint Peter

I am currently in Rome on pilgrimage, which is always a bit of a homecoming, since I was blessed to have the opportunity to study in the city twice.  I’m often asked by people traveling to the Eternal City what they should absolutely see when they’re there. (This is often asked by people who have not dedicated enough time to the city; trying […]

John Paul II and the Communion of Saints

Pope St. John Paul II

A few years ago, my friend Megan and I headed to Rome to celebrate the feast of John Paul II.  At the time, he was newly beatified and was not yet on the calendar for the church in the United States.  It was his first feast day, and barring special permission, Mass for his feast could be celebrated in only […]