DAY ONE: After we all finally met, we created a prayer altar (our CLA members will know about this!) that contained sacred objects that represented our community (I brought a CLOW drawing). Then we attended a session at the Jesuit headquarters in Vatican City where we participated in a synodal listening session with young adults from around the world, heard testimonies from four voting members of the Synod, and participated in a Q&A with those voting members. We ran into Fr. Arturo Sosa on our way to dinner and wrapped up with an Examen back at our residence.
DAY TWO: It started with morning prayer bright and early led by yours truly! We meditated over the story of the hemorrhaging woman and what it means to reach towards a more inclusive community. After, we all split up to go to our Together 2023 workshops. I attended a talk on the Faith and Light community, an intentional community made up of young people with and without intellectual disabilities. We heard testimonies from directors, caretakers, and participants in the beautiful Basilica dei Santi XII Apostoli. We wrapped up by learning a group dance they teach so that their nonverbal community members can participate in prayer.
From there we headed across town passing the Trevi Fountain (!!) and the Coliseum (!!) to the Basilica of St. John Lateran for Together 2023 praise and worship. There I met several young people from Hungary who had taken a seventeen hour bus ride to get here and sang with the whole Together gathering.
DAY THREE: check out the Ecumenical prayer Service.
DAY FIVE: It’s already felt like Saturday lasted about five years but the best was yet to come! We ran back across town to make it to St. Peter’s Square for the Together 2023 ecumenical prayer service. I would highly recommend watching it because words almost can’t do it justice. I’ll leave you with one impression you won’t see on the live stream: in the same moment Pope Francis stood to bless the crowd a flock of birds flew from the top of St. Peter’s, gulls, pigeons, and doves alike. God was with us.
On Day Seven, God rested and said it was good! After the physically and emotionally intense first couple of days in Rome, I needed to honor God’s wish for all of us to rest and recover. On Sunday we went to Mass at the English speaking Jesuit community, a small congregation of about thirty. My first time experiencing Mass in the round! For the rest of the day I wandered around, popping into whatever café or shop caught my attention, ending my day with Lebanese food right outside the Borghese Gardens (little taste of metro Detroit). On Monday, the group met with WUCWO, the Vatican endorsed women’s international women’s advocacy organization. Outside, in the next plaza over, I ran into a matching Homeless Jesus. Another little piece of home