We held a retreat for young men to visit Rome and the surrounding areas. It was a great experience and hopefully, we can do it again soon.
On Saturday we visited the great Apostle Saint Paul, nothing more, nothing less. One of the guys had never seen the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. St. Paul is buried there and we were able to pray at his grave for our many intentions. After that, we visited Panfili park. We played soccer and explored the huge park.
On Sunday we visited the other important Apostle of Rome, Saint Peter. We visited the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City, it was very impressive. We were able to take our time visiting the basilica, praying to St. Peter, and climbing to the cupola. From there you can see all of Rome, its churches, buildings, the Tiber, etc. Then, we went back to the house and ate lunch. Afterward, we visited Saint Bonaventure in the medieval city of San Bagnoregio.
On Monday we went out again. This outing was a true highlight of the whole retreat. We went to visit the great St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother. When this young saint spit up blood for the first time in his last illness [he had tuberculosis], he took the blood to the chapel and said, "Blood for blood, life for life, love for love." You could see the true faith this young man had.
The shrine of St. Gabriel is in the Gran Sasso area. The Gran Sasso is a massive mountain in the Apennine mountain range. After seeing the shrine we went up to "Campo Imperatore" a ski resort where St. John Paul II skied when he was pope. On the way, we found some hills with snow perfect enough sledding on. We made sleds out of cardboard, garbage bags, and duct tape. We had a great time there and climbed a mountain with a breathtaking view.
We thank God for this time and ask Him to help us to live the true Christian life we reflected upon in homilies, meditations, and other activities during this retreat.