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Pre-Pilgrimage Letter 2
April  2011



The time is quickly approaching when we will be together in Rome celebrating.


This last letter is designed to give you a few more details on what to expect and plan for, and also to introduce you to some of people you will meet on your pilgrimage.

Practicalities Around Town 

Normally, many of the people in the hotels and restaurants speak English which makes life easier for us Americans. The local currency in Italy is the Euro. If you intend to use cash you will need to change money since restaurants, shops, etc. will not accept dollars. ATM's are usually easy to find and can be one of the better ways to get euros.  Hotels will change money for you but there will be a small exchange rate charge.


It is smart to keep a handful of small Euro in your pocket for lunches, drinks, souvenirs, etc. It is good to have exact change (if not using a credit card) during lunch to speed up the process.  


We recommend you not carry large sums of cash or valuables with you during the day. There are pickpockets like in any other country. We will be constantly vigilant on your behalf and will warn you of places especially prone to pickpockets. But is it best to travel light. We will tell you in advance when you need to bring your passport or larger sums of money.


Before Leaving Home  

Credit cards will be accepted at most places during our trip. It is smart to call your credit cards providers to let them know you are traveling to Italy. If you don't they will likely put a hold on your card when they suddenly see charges coming in from a foreign country. When you call them they will put a notation in their computer so you won't have problems using your card during the pilgrimage.


Also contact your cell phone carrier if you want to have cell service in Italy. Most carriers provide international service for an extra charge but you may need to contact them to have it turned on.


One Last Thing  

Most places we will visit have nice restrooms with toilet paper. But a few warnings: We may not always have facilities like you are used to. More importantly, with the number of people expected in Rome there may be situations where the paper products run out in public restrooms.  Our solution is this: at home, before the next roll of toilet paper runs out, pull it off and flatten the roll and put it in your carry-on. We suggest you keep a half roll with you throughout the trip-just in case.


Zenit Article about Pope John Paul II

Biblical Reflection for Good Friday

By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB


For our Good Friday Reflection this year, and in preparation for the beatification of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II on Sunday May 1, I have chosen to share with you the this reflection on what Pope John Paul II taught us at the end of his life.

I cannot celebrate Good Friday without remembering Pope John Paul II, especially his final Good Friday on earth in 2005. This reflection is part of a major address I gave at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, for the opening of the special exhibit, "Blessed," that commemorates the life of this great man.


Human suffering


One of the beautiful and not frequently cited writings of John Paul II was his 1984 apostolic letter "Salvifici Doloris," (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering). The late Pope, following the Apostle Paul and the entire Catholic Tradition, maintained throughout his life that it is precisely in suffering that Christ displayed his solidarity with humanity, and in which we can grow in solidarity with Christ, who is our life.

In "Salvifici Doloris," suffering is the consequence of sin, and Christ embraces that consequence, rather than repudiating it. By embracing suffering, he shares fully in it, he takes the consequence of sin into and onto himself. He does this out of love for us, not simply because he wants to redeem us, but because he wants to be with us, to share what we share, to experience what we experience. And it is this shared love, this shared suffering in love, which completes and perfects the relationship broken in sin, and so redeems us.

Continued at HERE 

A classmate of Karol Wojtyla, Cardinal Jorge Mara Meja

Will be at a special event in the Angelicum.


Learn more about the Cardinal



Chancellor of Ave Maria University, and Founder of Domino's Pizza.

His Bio is found at 

Paul Badde

Best selling Author and renowned journalist. His most recent book is
"Face of God"   


NCR Book Review 

Teresa Tomeo

will be sharing her talk on JPII and the media.   Learn more about her at 

Pope John Paul II Biographer 

George Weigel spent countless hours with John Paul II. He will be sharing his experiences with us during a private talk . His Bio  here and Wikipedia page 

 Joan Lewis

EWTN's Rome Bureau Chief. Read her blog  at EWTN  here

Elizabeth Lev

is an engaging Art Historian, and talented writer. She brings Rome to life. Visit her website


knows Rome like the back of his hand. He has been helping us navigate the city since the first Footprints of God film projects.

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