It is definitely difficult to share about our Family’s Europe trip spanning 2 weeks that took us to 4 countries and 8 cities. The 1st week of our trip was spent exploring Italy while the 2nd week was spent on the Cruise and the Shore excursions to 3 countries – Croatia, Turkey and Greece.
As the Cruise was the original plan for the trip, the add-on was the Italy side-trip which became a pilgrimage during the Extraordinary Jubilee – The Holy Year of Mercy. It was the golden opportunity to do the Holy Doors in Rome itself. We started the trip in Rome and I must say that 3 days is not enough to explore this city. We also squeezed in a visit to Florence, Pisa, Tuscany & Assisi for only 1 day. So there’s definitely a lot more to return to in Italy!
The question still remains, where will I start to share pictures about our trip.
But today, on the 5th of August is the solemn celebration of the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore), so let me start with that.
When you go to Rome, it’s a must to go to the 4 Papal Basilicas —- The Archbasilica of St. john Lateran, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Porta Santa to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
One of the many good things that Joaquin picked up from this trip is learning to automatically genuflect on his own whenever we enter a church. I cannot remember the number of times we actually kneeled for the trip. But it sure was a lot. (I even revived an old knee injury because of it.) When we enter or leave a church, he would automatically genuflect without us telling him do so and would even do it before us. That’s kneeling complete with bowing of the head. Then he’d sit down on a chair on his own for a few seconds. Then stand up, genuflect again (facing the exit! hee hee) then run back to us. At 4 years old, I’m sure he didn’t exactly understand the essence of what he was doing but we’d like to believe that it we have started to instill in him the values or respect, faith and love for our Catholic tradition.
You’ll have to love the detail that goes to the ceiling of these churches.
We had to get a mother and son photo with the Mother and Son photo of Mary and Baby Jesus.
Behind us is the main altar of Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica.
Below the main altar, you will find the relic of the Holy Crib of Jesus. A statue of Pope Pius IX kneeling before the ancient wooden pieces of the manger serves as an example of humility as one comes to see the crib of our Savior.
The Relic of the Holy Crib of Jesus up close.
It also became automatic for Joaquin to ask for coins to make an offering in every Church we would go to. (Or at least for him to get a candle or to see automatic candles light up.) Of course, offering a candle at the Basilica of Maria Maggiore was part of that. Ours was the upper right most candle in this picture. What did we pray for my darling? :)
All smiles from our short but sweet visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Prayed to our Holy Mother for our personal intercessions and for peace in the whole world.
St. Maria Maggiore, pray for us!