We were on the go; generally up around 6:30 or 7 am each day, and the only good time to post was on the bus; but the Internet connection phased in and out. By the time dinner wrapped up, it was usually 9 pm or even later; I should have done my posts then, but I kept hoping for better prospects the following day.
Some of this will be repetitive, sorry! But if I don't get all this done today, I never will.
Our first pilgrimage visit was Monte Cassino, where St. Benedict founded his first monastery, and where he and his sister, St. Scholastica, are buried. Here is the high altar:
And here is a monument, beneath that altar, marking the remains -- which are in a crypt below; we had Mass there; but I didn't take pictures, sorry!
Some art from the monastery:
A statue of Charlemagne that caught my eye. The courtyard had statues of kings on one side, and popes on the other.
A view of a cemetery near the monastery, where are buried many brave Poles who helped win a terrible battle here in World War II. The Allies struggled hard to dislodge the Nazis from this mountain; in the process the monastery was bombed by the Allies.
These next three photos are a poor man's panorama of the Bay of Sorrento:
This is the Cathedral in Amalfi where St. Andrew's remains are venerated.
People who received healings prayed for would bring silver items as expressions of thanks. The votive offerings are in the shape of the body part that was healed. There were many more display cases of such offerings.
Here we are taking a boat across to the Isle of Capri.
Here is a view of the walking path up to where we were, followed by several other pics of Capri.
By the way, if you are wondering about other things we saw, what this shows is that I am not a very good picture-taker.
This floor was in a church in Capri -- at least, I think that's where it was! It depicts Eden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. Curiously, it does not seem to take into account the Tree of Life, but perhaps I am missing something. No one is allowed to walk on the floor; note the boards around the perimeter. Obviously this church is not used very often.
Here is Padre Saint Pio's school in his home town:
A view from Pietrelcina, where young Pio grew up:
After Mass in the parish church -- where Saint Pio offered his first Mass -- I went out for lunch; I launched out on my own (but was joined by several fellow pilgrims later). I asked someone to point me toward something "authentic"; and in the restaurant, I asked for something typical of the region. That resulted in the following two dishes. This was a kind of potato pancake, with pork meat and mushrooms in a kind of stew, with tomatoes, as you can see. It was very tasty; but if you think all Italian food is highly spiced, you would be mistaken; this was very mild (but not bland).
This was pumpkin ravioli. It was good; but not my favorite thing.
After our visit to Pietrelcina, we drove over to the Adriatic Coast, to Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano. This church is built over a cave, where the Archangel appeared a really long time ago. (If it seems like this post is being written in haste, you are correct. I started it around 10:30 am; it is now 2:19 pm; lots of coming and going on my first day back in the office; I am not going to let this post remain unfinished today!) There is a thing about the "Sword of St. Michael," that connects to this place; look it up and form your own opinion.
Here's the grotto. We had Mass in the sanctuary to the right.
Here's the altar where I wanted to offer Mass:
This again was Monte Sant'Angelo:
Here is one of the more memorable meals. The dish to the right was called Pancotto Montanaro. I went crazy for this. Just now I typed that name into the search engine, hoping I would find out more about it. No luck! If anyone has any information, I'd like to hear more. I'd like to recreate this dish, if possible.
This was a meal we had in Lanciano, where we had Mass in the presence of a famous Eucharistic miracle. Unawares, we arrived at this restaurant before it actually was open for business, but the staff graciously took care of us. This was a seafood pasta:
There was a second Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano -- who knew? A local pointed us in the right direction. This is the church...
Here is a shrine to the miracle. We could only look in through a plexiglass window.
This, I believe, is the church where the second miracle occurred:
This is a memorial to the war dead in Lanciano:
OK, now we're in Rome. I took even fewer pictures, sorry! This is from the Church of the Gesu, which is the Jesuit "mother church" in Rome. They have something special they do at 5:30 pm every day, about which Father Stechschulte was rather cryptic. It was called the "Baroque Machine."
Well, here's what happens. All attention is given to the tomb of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (i.e., Jesuits); a narration is given -- in Italian -- during which different portions of the elaborate tomb are lit. I am guessing the narration included some brief information about St. Ignatius, but mostly it sounded like scripture passages or prayers.
The climax comes when the portrait of St. Ignatius is drawn down, to reveal a statue of the saint. Here is a before and after:
Here is the ceiling of the Gesu. No photo can do it justice.
One day we took a trip out of Rome to Civita di Bagnoregio. The town is atop a steep hill, reachable only by a narrow footpath which donkeys can navigate; but also really small police cars. The Wikipedia page linked above tells the story.
Here's the town square:
Here is the wild boar I ate. Delicious!
This was the papal audience. Everyone is looking to see where the popemobile was...
And here's the pope:
OK, those are all the photos I have. It was a wonderful trip!