The Tomb of the Popes

“You are Peter and upon this rock, I will build my Church.”

The third day of the pilgrimage began with Mass at the Tomb of the Popes beneath the Vatican. His Excellency, Mar Sarhad celebrated the Mass just feet away from the tomb of St. Peter. It was an especially powerful experience for those who were present because it was made known that Bishop Sarhad celebrated his first Mass on the tomb of St. Peter, and to be near the tomb again in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle was a real blessing. During his homily, he spoke of being at home in the Church, especially around so many deceased Holy Fathers.

After Mass, the pilgrims took a tour of the Vatican Museum where they saw some of the greatest works of art in the world. The climax was seeing the Sistine Chapel and the great paintings of Michelangelo. Afterward, they were able to see St. Peter’s Basilica. Walking into the Basilica was breath taking, with its colossal ceilings and arches, its gorgeous paintings and beautiful statues, the most famous being Michelangelo’s Pieta. The pilgrims were able to walk through the Basilica and be reminded of their own smallness in comparison to God’s grandeur and beauty.

In the afternoon, the pilgrims drove three hours to Assisi where they spent the evening and following day. On the way up to Assisi, the pilgrims made a tour of Our Lady of the Angel’s Church which is located in lower Assisi, just at the mountain base. The pilgrims then headed to Assisi for the evening. After dinner, Bishop Sarhad treated the young people on the pilgrimage for a hike to La Rocca Maggiora, the large Castle ruins at the very top of Assisi’s mountain. When they finally reached the top, they were rewarded for their efforts with a beautiful nighttime view of Assissi and the surrounding landscape. The Bishop lead the group in singing Qadisha Alaha at the top of La Rocca in thanksgiving and praise of God. On the way down, the group also treated their sweet tooth’s to Gelato before heading back to their hotel for the night.