A party of Knights and some of their wives were led by Fr Gerard Robinson on a trip to Rome at the end of March. We arrived in Rome on the Monday evening and were immediately given a guided tour of the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon areas where we met up with Fr John Paul Leonard. He is currently based in the English College in Rome.
A very early start on the next morning saw us arrive at the Vatican where Fr Ged and Fr John Paul led us in a celebration of Mass in one of the many chapels in the Crypt of the Basilica. Our Reverend tour guide then shared his knowledge with us as we spent an enjoyable morning savouring the splendours of this magnificent building. Our sightseeing continued after a hearty lunch and a visit to our Bishop’s favourite shop. Despite “name dropping”, no discount was forthcoming. A visit to the Spanish Steps was followed by a trip to the Beda College and the impressive Church of St Paul. We had been invited to an evening Mass at the English College and were awestruck at the beauty of the recently refurbished chapel. The main concelebrant was an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and the homily was delivered by a former Anglican Bishop who recently joined the Personal Ordinariate.
We had an early start on Wednesday as we had places reserved for the Papal Audience. To our delight and amazement, we were seated alongside Pope Benedict. When the time came for the English speaking groups to be announced, Council 29 of The Knights of St Columba was the first group to be acknowledged with a courteous wave from His Holiness. The only dark cloud on our visit was when Deidre “tripped” and hurt her ankle. She bravely hobbled to taxis and to the aeroplane, which was no mean feat as she subsequently discovered she had fractured her ankle.
At all Masses we remembered all Brother Knights, both living and deceased, and prayed for the intentions of the Diocese.