Like Ireland, Rome is warming up. Unlike Ireland the temperature today was in the high twenties.
This morning we met as usual at 8.15 in the school and bussed or metroed around the city.
We started our day visiting the tomb of ‘the saint of the ordinary’ St Josemaria Escriva, where prayed for various intentions.
Then, staying overground, we travelled by bus (one of seven bus journeys today) to Santa Croce de Jerusalemme where we saw some relics of the true Cross, while Mr Hamilton told us of how St Helena, had sought to rescue all the early Christian artifacts form the Holy Lands in the early 4th century.
From there we went to the catacombs of St Callistus, the eternal home of over half-a-million early Christians, including Popes, martyrs and including St Cecelia. The soft volcanic stone made the area easy to excavate, thus allowing for a labyrinthine underground cemetery five stories deep.
From there we made our way (walked on this occasion) to the Quo Vadis church and the celebrated footprint in marble.
Then is was on to St John Lateran, the basilica of the Bishop of Rome, which was on our return journey home. A short meeting was held stressing the importance of bringing all luggage to the school in the morning, so that our final day would go smoothly.
(The Right Direction, or possibly the wrong direction?)
The final day
A truly Roman summer’s day, and one to be spent on the beach. All were ready, suitcases packed for home, and well oiled up for a day in the sun. Some joke souvenirs awards were given by the teachers to the boys to commemorate their week in Rome, and to mark some of their injudicious comments or behaviours – all in good spirits.
Following three train journeys we arrived at Lido Ostia, to laze on the Italian coast for a couple of hours. The water was refreshing and the surrounds lively, and we didn’t stay long enough to get burned.
On the return journey we stopped in Ostia Antiqua, where Mr Fagan admired a local church kitted out for an evening wedding (we wondered why?) and even took a few photographs. This small town has all the marks of an ancient preserved town which ahs seen better days. But the ice-cream was up to expectations.
(Mr Fagan was in Rome – proof!)
(enjoying ice cream, and the rest)
Then back to school, to freshen up and to collect our bags before departing for the airport. All warnings of alertness were obviously of help as one bag (complete with passport) was rescued at the last second from the metro, while another passport was lost and found in McDonalds, and a second bag was recovered as we made our way to the security check-in.
(The posers who travelled. It is no wonder that there were mislaid bags and passports on the way back)
Despite these challenges we made it to Dublin on Friday night, a few minutes late, and into the hands of grateful and welcoming families. Arrivederci. Thanks to all the Roman families (Antonelli, Vender, Cellerino, Fontana, Agostini) who put up with us and to Iunior Institute for all their help.