The journey begins

4 Sep

SEPTEMBER 4, 2010 — After a somewhat restless sleep, I rolled out of bed this morning at 6:30 am to take care of last minute emails and packing for my first trip to Rome since my honeymoon in 2002.

The world has seen a lot of change since then, as has the Church. I’ll never forget my last trip to St. Peters Square on April 17, 2002. Michele and I, dressed in our wedding clothes, anxiously awaited the pope’s arrival. The Popemobile entered the square to a triumphant wave of shouts, cheers and applause. Bent and frail, John Paul II made several rounds in the square before climbing the ramp to the stage area where we were sitting.

Despite the years that weighed so heavily on him, he waved off his aides who scrambled to help him out of the vehicle. He grabbed his cane and struggled to his feet, turned and made his way down the steps before walking to the presiders chair with his top aide, Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, holding his arm.

That was more than eight years ago. A lot of water under the bridge. Right now I’m in Atlanta’s Hartsfield International airport–the world’s busiest airport–looking at the 300-passenger Airbus 330 that will carry me across the ocean to the Eternal City. It’s my fifth time to Rome, having previously been there in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2002. Since the city is about 14,000 years old (oldest archeological evidence of human activity), I doubt too much has changed.

The plane, boss, the plane! Airbus 330-300. Nice ride.

I’m going to be attending a week-long seminar at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross for journalists from around the world who cover the Catholic Church. It’s billed as an insider’s look at how the Holy See operates. We’ll be making site visits, meeting the heads of some Vatican departments, and taking in a papal audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Time to board! Arrivederci, USA! More to come!

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One Response to “The journey begins”

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  1. Kresta in the Afternoon « - September 16, 2010

    […] three blog posts (1, 2, 3) about the seminar have been read by people from around the world. Al asked me about why […]

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