By: Bernadette Parrott
Welcome to our Faith Renewal Series that is exploring The ABCs of Being Catholic. We are invited on a journey through the alphabet to explore Catholic terms, beliefs, and traditions. In this post we focus on the letter “V”.
Vatican (Vatican City)
August 19, 2021
What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think about the Vatican or Vatican City? This independent, small city-state is surrounded by Rome. It is, of course, the home of the Pope and the seat of Roman Catholic Church. It maintains the temporal, diplomatic and spiritual direction of the whole of the Catholic congregation. Only a small part of the “palace” is used for residential purposes, most of the buildings are used in the preservation of art, science and the governance of the world-wide Catholic Church.
It is so much more than that!
I have experienced for myself the incredible joy and excitement that overcomes the soul when in this holy place. I have had the opportunity to see and hear the Holy Father speak in person. It was a powerful moment filled with anticipation, excitement, and humbleness.
Surrounded by brick walls on three sides and contained within you’ll find religious and cultural sites such as
- St. Peter’s Basilica, where I stood in awe, in silence, gazing upon every corner, exploring the crevices and the caverns, where I came to realize that beneath me lay St. Peter, lay the popes of the past, lay the foundations of the faith I profess through Jesus;
- the Sistine Chapel, where my first thought was – wow – this is so much smaller than I thought, and then I remembered – this is a chapel – and then in amazement thought – wow – to be able to sit here in this holy place in silence, to gaze upon the frescos painted by Michelangelo and then to think that this chapel was so much larger than I thought – the Chapel of the Pope – who am I to be granted permission to enter? – I am a child of God through my baptism and I am united in my baptism. Ahh…..to sit and pray – to just sit and pray and gaze upon the frescos calling me into even deeper prayer;
- the Vatican Museums, and beautiful gardens and so much more. Thousands upon thousands of pilgrims, just as I was, seeking to find a deeper connection to their faith.
More than buildings, more than paintings and frescos, the Vatican called to me. I found myself questioning – am I ready to show the world I am a Roman Catholic? Is my presence in this place now asking more of me? Do I have the courage?