Rome Pilgrimage Day 4: Assisi
by Steve Ray on October 14, 2007
Videos moved to my Pilgrimage website here
We had an early start because today we take the side trip out of Rome to visit Assisi. We left at 7:30 AM. Several people asked me to tell my conversion story so for the first 1 ½ hours of the drive I told how Janet and I discovered the Catholic Church. I cried a bit during the talk but then, what else is new? Fr. Bob Roggenbuck then told his reversion story, how he became an Evangelical Protestant youth worker after having been raised Catholic. He then told how he rediscovered what he never really understood as a young man.
At 10:30 we began our guided tour of see the Basilica of St. Clare St. Francis Basilica which contains the tomb of St. Clair and the famous and historical Cross of St. Damiano which had “spoken” to St. Francis. We quietly prayed in this chapel. We then saw the place of Francis’s birth, statues of his parents, and the place where he lived and then. It was a beautiful day and great to see the life and history of St. Francis the founder of the Franciscans.
After our time in the church one of the Franciscan brothers came out to speak with us and greet us. He challenged us to holiness through humility and to set our eyes on Jesus.
We then visited the stunning and beautiful Basilica of St. Francis which contains the body of St. Francis. It is actually two churches, the upper and the lower. The upper is filled with gorgeous paintings of St. Francis’s life, painted by Giotto. The lower contains the tomb of St. Francis and many chapels. The whole complex is stunningly grand and majestic.
1:00 PM Lunch at Ristorante Buca di San Francesco and at 3:00 PM Fr. Bob celebrated our private Mass at St. Francis Basilica (Chapel of the Peace). After Mass we had free time for the pilgrims to explore this charming village on their own and do some shopping.
At 5:00 PM we again boarded the bus to head back to Rome arriving at 9 PM. Along the way we watched our new Apostolic Fathers DVD. Though a long ride, it seemed everyone had a good time, took a nap and enjoyed the DVD. Everyone ran out for some gelato or a quick dinner before heading for bed. Eating a late dinner is unusual for Americans but Romans don’t even get started with dinner until after 7:30.