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Angela Goddard (’21) reflects on her first days in the Eternal City.

Although we have only been in Rome just over a week, so much has happened since we first arrived it truly feels like longer. When we showed up to Residence Balduina on our first day, the Rome program coordinators, Paul, Biz, and Miss Ott, welcomed us to the city and treated us to our first authentic Italian meal of pizza, wine, and biscotti. This was a great opportunity to reconnect with our classmates. What a joy it was to know that we were all on this grand adventure together

Our first visit to St. Peter’s was a highlight of our first week in Rome. When I first arrived in Italy, I was keenly aware of the distance from my family and all that is familiar to me. But entering St. Peter’s square for the first time, I felt as though I had truly come home. The splendor, beauty and sheer magnitude of the square were astounding and yet somehow only added to the sense of welcoming and belonging which the place breathes into its pilgrims. We roamed through St. Peter’s, prayed in front of the Pieta, admired Bernini’s famous canopy, and attended Mass in front of the chair of the first Pope. How beautiful it was to see first-hand that the Catholic Church is the living and flourishing bride of Christ!

Though I think we all would have been happy to stay in St. Peter’s forever, Paul and Biz also encouraged us to see the rest of the city and sent us out for a scavenger hunt. Armed with our public transit passes and a map of the Eternal City we set out to find the famous sites and landmarks. Within a matter of hours my group of friends and I had pushed our way through the crowds to the Trevi fountain, done a little swing dancing on the Spanish steps, posed by a Swiss guard, venerated the skull of St. Agnes, and crammed ourselves into more busses and trains than we can remember. We started to get a grasp of the layout of the city and stacked up memories and pictures we will treasure forever.

Honestly, I could go on forever about the first few days in Rome, from the food to the language to the historical and artistic richness of the city. But as I sit back in my apartment overlooking the city lights, what shines through it all is God’s deep love for His Church and for us, Her members. This adventure has just begun and through God’s grace I am confident that the best is yet to come.

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