Archbasilica of St. John Lateran: Testimony to a Faith that Endures

Papal Archbasilica of Saint John in Lateran

Since I made reference to it in last week’s post, and I have already dedicated a whole post to St. Mary Major down the street from it, I think it’s only fair to dedicate a post to the basilica of St. John Lateran. The Church of St. John Lateran is the mother and head of all the churches of the […]

The Vision and Miracle of the Feast of Corpus Christi

The Eucharist and Corporal of the Miracle of Corpus Christi are carried in procession in Orvieto.

Each year before returning to Sundays of Ordinary Time, the Church celebrates one final big Sunday feast day: the Feast of Corpus Christi.  But did you know this feast was instituted after a request from Our Lord Himself? The story of the feast begins with a young woman named Juliana, who lived in Liege during the beginning of the thirteenth century.  Juliana had a […]

The Story of St. Mary Major: A Protectress, a Council, and a Relic

Reliquary of the Holy Crib Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Spring always makes me think of Rome, since two of my springs were spent as a student there, entering into the graces of Roman Lents and Triduums, celebrating the entire fifty days of Easter, experiencing the feasts of Pentecost and Corpus Christi with the universal Church, then escaping just as the tourists and summer pilgrims began to suffocate the city […]

The Swiss Guard: Do we have the same courage?

  Every year on May 6, the new members of the Swiss Guard swear allegiance to the Holy Father, making the bold promise to give everything to protect him: “I swear I will faithfully, loyally and honorably serve the Supreme Pontiff Francis and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also […]

The Station Churches of Rome

  One of the oldest traditions of Lent is the pilgrimage to the Roman station churches.  The station churches, or statio, have their roots in the earliest days of the Church, when the bishop would visit the churches of his diocese on set days each year.  Today, the Catholic community in Rome carries on this tradition. Before it was legal […]

St. Charbel and lessons of the universal Church

Villa Serenella Monastery

I’ve had the opportunity to live in Rome twice, once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate student. There’s nothing like living in the Eternal City, and both semesters impacted my faith in incredible ways. I find myself getting “Rome-sick” pretty frequently, so I have to constantly remind myself that it wasn’t just sunshine, roses, papal Masses and gelato. […]

One Family’s Novena to Italy—Mother’s Day in St. Peter’s Square

Mothers Day in St. Peter's Square, Photography by Mark Armstrong

Travel Journal — Mother’s Day at St. Peter’s It was a Mother’s Day to remember for my lovely bride Patti Armstrong as we attended the Latin Mass at St. Peter’s and then, like tens of thousands of mothers on the Square, received a blessing and prayer from Pope Francis. It was a perfect beginning to our day as we later met up with […]

One Family’s Novena to Italy—Day Four

Ceiling in the Vatican Museum Photography by Mark Armstrong

Travel Journal Day Four, May 10, 2015 — The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel The Vatican Museums were established over five hundred years ago by Pope Julius II after the discovery of just one marble sculpture in 1506 that had been buried in a farmer’s field for more than a millennium. That one sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons, has begotten one of […]

One Family’s Novena to Italy—Day Three

The Colosseum in Rome Photography by Mark Armstrong

Travel Journal Day Three, May 9, 2015 — Rome through the ages. It is impossible to see all the sights that Rome has to offer.  But we tried to see as many as possible on our first full day here.  We start off at the famous Colosseum in Rome. Most are aware that early Catholics were martyred here. It was a gruesome […]

One Family’s Novena to Italy—Day Two

Statue of St. Paul at the Entrance to St. Peter's Bascilica Photography by Mark Armstrong

Travel Journal Day Two, May 8, 2015 arriving in Rome, the Eternal City. Touching down at the Leonardo Da Vinci Airport this morning felt like a blessing beyond surviving twenty hours in the air and the usual turbulence. Just prior to leaving Bismarck, we learned of a massive fire that shut down the terminal we were scheduled to land at in Italy. The […]