This post will have to be the "travelogue" variety -- there is so much to say and so little time to say it. I will be catching a train this morning to go back to Rome to resume my time with the "Rome Experience" after my break to come to Pollone and Turin to see the sites associated with Bl. Pier Giorgio and to meet some of his family.
On Saturday, before leaving Rome, the seminarians and priests of the Rome Experience met with Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura -- basically the Church's Supreme Court. Archbishop Burke has just recently come back to Rome from St. Louis. He was very gracious as well as very informative. (I think that I learned more canon law in that brief time than I had in seminary!) He is a real champion of the faith, and it was an honor to be with him. He is also a very warm and gentle man.
In the afternoon, I got on a train to come to Pollone, the site of the Frassati summer home. Other than having a train cancelled in Milan, the trip was uneventful. I was picked up at the station in Biella by Wanda, Bl. Pier Giorgio's niece with whom I had had lunch in Rome the previous Saturday. She brought me to Pollone and the Frassati home, where I have been staying. It is a surreal experience in a way. I will go into more details when I can.
On Sunday morning, I went with the family and Chris Wohar, the director of Frassati USA, to the dedication of a Pier Giorgio trail in the mountains of the Val d'Aosta. These trails exist in almost every region of Italy. It was incredibly beautiful! Mass was celebrated on the mountain -- a true Frassati experience. Then there was a lunch for all involved back down the trail in a little village.
In the afternoon, Wanda, Chris, and I went to Turin. We first visited the Cathedral, where the Shroud is, to visit Bl. Pier Giorgio's tomb. We also visited a number of churches that have some role in his life. We also visited the church of St. John Bosco -- and had an interlude there when we thought that we had lost the car keys!
Monday was spent seeing Pollone and going to the sanctuary of Oropa, an ancient and beautiful Marian shrine in the mountains where Bl. Pier Giorgio often went when he was in Pollone. Last evening, there was the Mass I posted about earlier and then a long dinner and conversation with the family members here. Amazing.