Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter in Rome

This year I spent Easter in Rome with Lakshi and it was my second time in the city… surprisingly it wasn’t as exciting as it was the first time I was there. The first time I remember I was so excited and loved all the sculptures, paintings, historical buildings and ruins. I think it was also extra exciting as I had just read angels and demons and then experienced sites that were described in the book. This time too of course I enjoyed it, but it was really crowded and we spent so much time in queues and the cathedrals and sculptures and paintings started to merge into each other… maybe I’m jaded, after travelling like crazy around Europe in my first couple of years here, now the scenery, history, art seems to be similar. I must admit though that it was lovely travelling with a partner rather than alone for a change.

The main reason we chose to go to Rome during Easter was to attend the Papal masses at St Peters’ Basilica. It was amazing to observe the way people stood in queues (including us) for 3 to 4 hrs to attend the papal Good Friday mass and Easter vigil mass. We attended both of these masses, and stayed in queues ourselves, and it was funny to see how the cardinals and the pope were treated like rock stars! I guess maybe it has to do with the feeling that you are part of something greater than yourself, a great big family with so many others with the same faith and beliefs…

We met many people while waiting in queues for mass, from all over the world as far as South America and Australia especially in Rome to get a glimpse of the Pope and for the Papal Blessing held on Easter Sunday morning in St Peters Square, and as I watched the fanfare for the Royal wedding, it reminded me of our experience in Rome with people shouting and waving flags on Easter Sunday morning during the Papal Blessing! It was also very touchig when the Pope wished everyone in many languages, including Sinhala (my mother tongue)… We were told that if you attend the Easter Sunday papal blessing and confess and denounce sin, you would have to spend less time in purgatory. I don’t know exactly what happens after death, but we too went for confession. For me the confession was more about meditating on the wrong I’ve done and trying to become a better person. I think it’s the genuine rejection of sin and faith that saves you.

All the sculptures and the Vatican museums and fountains were as beautiful as ever. One of my favourite places was the Trevi Fountain, but was sad that it was squeezed between ugly new buildings which spoiled the effect. I was trying to imagine how ancient Rome would have looked like, with all these amazing architecture, fountains, paintings... Being in the Colosseum and imagining the Gladiators also horrified me… human beings murdering each other, or being murdered by animals was a form of entertainment. Maybe they just walked in with a snack to see who was going to get killed and how bloody the fight would be!

Overall though the trip was fun, though I was able to get more in touch with my spiritual side at Lourdes during Christmas, rather than in Rome this Easter in spite of attending the masses celebrated by the Pope. I think part of it was due to the crowd and queues where finally when I entered the church I just wanted to sit out of exhaustion rather than kneel and pray. I also think I have been spoilt by Geneva, cos after living here with the peace and quiet and very clean streets, with great public transport and mountains in the distance everywhere else seems dirty and crowded!

I’ll end this post with a few pictures of Lakshi and me in Rome…of course as everyone else we did put a coin in the Trevi Fountain so that we would be able to come back to Rome again! So until next time...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get the blessings from the Holy Father(POPE) in Vatican for any of your great occasions in life. Let the blessings from Vatican reach your family and home . Lead a blessed life !!

Get your Papal blessing letter now :

11:54 am, June 21, 2011  

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