Friday, October 16, 2009

The community here is great. Right now it is myself, and one other volunteer named Karen from Denver Colorado. She will be going with me to the DRC but is staying for 2 years. At the end of October and into November there will be more volunteers coming, mostly Italians. Then there is Diggy from the Phillipines who trains the volunteers and lives here permanently. Then there is Sister Angela who is the director of VOICA. Sister Angela spent 35 years working with the aboriginals of Australia and has many interesting stories. She has a digiridoo which I tried to learn but gave up after a few tries; I really just sounded like a dying elephant although I felt that my lips were stronger from practicing on it, hahah, not like that's really important but ya it's true. We had an American couple return from their 1 year mission in East Timor and we had the chance to listen to their stories and their experience. They were such a beautiful couple and told us that the most important thing while you're on mission is to PRAY, and that community is very important. Both of them were such great witnesses to living out their faith and giving of themselves as true servants. They are both 23 and so young and full of love...they really left an impresison on me.
I have explored a bit of Rome and I am very impressed by the city. It has so much history and beauty. So far I have explored the ancient Foro Romano, Palantine Hill where the Emperors used to live, the Colosseum, a few art galleries and famous Roman gardens. It was difficult for me to imagine what it would really be like back then and how the city of Rome looked back then. It was cool to see the house where Caesar Augustus lived and to walk where he walked. The whole place gave me the chills just thinking about all the people who have walked where I was walking.
I have also visited many beautiful churches such as St. Peters, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Maggiore and many more. When I went to the basilica of St. Cecilia just as I arrived a bride was entering the church and the "here comes the bride" song came on with beautiful organs. Wow! It was really beautiful, and her dress was probably made by some famous Italian designer because I have never seen its equal. I also visited the church called the Holy Cross in Jerusalem which has fragments of the real cross of Jesus, a thorn from the crown of Jesus, the thumb of the Apostle Thomas who doubted Jesus' Resurrection. St. Helena, the mother of St. Augustine, brought back the fragments of the cross to Rome. The Holy Shroud was also there where you could see the face and the body of Christ left by the stains of his blood. I then visited the Scala Santa which are the steps that Jesus walked up to go before Pontius Pilate. You go up these stairs on your knees, which is very painful but it allows you to enter the Passion of Christ. Rome really allows you to come closer to the life of Christ and his apostles as well.

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