July 10- Rome with St. Paul

This morning we had the privilege of worshipping at the church known as St. Paul’s Beyond the Walls. As you arrive you go through security with bags being scanned. I guess that is normal now. The entrance is a beautiful garden with a large statue of Paul at the center. The inscription says “Preacher of truth. Teacher of nations .” That seems very fitting. 
The large entrance door to the cathedral is very striking. It is a large cross. The cathedral is beautiful. We attended mass up in the very front of the cathedral It was in Italian but several people in our family know French which is related to Italian which helped. I know the liturgy well enough to follow along. 
Being in worship was a great way to conclude our journey with Paul. We were worshipping with people from many nations. The procession of worship leaders came forward with the cross lifted high. The organ music brought goose bumps. We heard a reading from one of Paul’s epistles just a few yards from where he was buried. We passed the peace to one another in many languages. Paul would be pleased to see boundaries brought down in the worship of Jesus Christ. 

After worship we went a few steps down to pray before the crypt. Above it are a few links of chain thought to have been chains of Paul’s imprisonment. The whole morning was a highlight for me. 

In the afternoon we had the joy of meeting up with Dexter and Liz Kearney. They have been traveling in Europe and realized we would overlap for a day. We had a great lunch, swapping stories. Plus, today is Dexter’s birthday!

After lunch we explored the Pantheon and then Trevi Fountain. Tomorrow we fly back to Istanbul, stay overnight in a hotel and will be on our way home on Tuesday. I have a lot to process and share!