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Up early and on our little tour bus appropriately titled, “Ciao Roma.” Let’s do this.

Me made it across town and got off at the Vatican City. We blasted past the hucksters selling tours and fast-track group guides and jumped in line with the hordes waiting to get in. The line went very fast and before we knew it, we were in and through security, staring down those wild Swiss guards. So good. Lots of purple.

We picked between two lines: The first was for St. Peter’s Basilica and the second was for the Pope Tombs underneath everything. We headed for the tombs.

“Hats off, tourists. Sacred place!” My stinky orange 6-panel DDC action cap was enough to get Vatican security fired up. I mean, the thing smells like an old sock as is, but hey, like I know any better?

We walked past tombs of Pope long, long passed on. From centuries ago. And then you walk up on Pope John Paul’s tomb, and it hits you. These were people. Religious leaders, sure. Saints, maybe. But Karol J├│zef Wojty┼‚a was a person. Living, breathing. And here were his remains. It’s a lot to take in, and in a short, short time. The Vatican guys shoo you along quickly. “No pictures!” (I snapped a couple off. Our little secret.)

Then you walk up to St. Peter’s tomb.

Now, let’s just get a couple things straight here: Whatever yer belief system, you have to honor the history behind the one they call St. Peter.

Here’s a guy who was right there with Jesus. One of the 12 apostles. Walked on water for a bit, until his faith wavered. Not bad.

I was raised in this stuff from my earliest memories. Catechism, sunday mass, communion, a stint in Catholic School and confirmation. And that’s where it ended for me. I graduated high school and moved Out West, with the heathens. And it was great.

So standing there, you just have to stop for a second and weigh the history before you. One of the 12 apostles, man. Whatever the story, or version of it, or non-version of it, you subscribe to, you have to respect the billion followers of the Catholic church.

St. Peter. “The Rock.” Right there in front of us. Wow.

So then you come out, and you enter into St. Peter’s Basilica. I’ll spare you my halfwit two cents on it. And on a little deal called “The Sistine Chapel.” You might have heard of it? So incredibly powerful and beautiful and historical and magical and…

…and you just have to see it. Whatever you believe, it’s hard not to be moved by this stuff.

I cobbled together a prayer for my parents, Gary, my passed-on grandparents, sister Sarah, sister Leah, Leah’s baby on the way, even Jacob my almost brother-in-law and a couple other yahoos on the master list.

This place just makes you think. I haven’t thought like that in a long, long time.

There Are 4 Comments

Great, great post. Thanks for this.

Posted by: Matt on 02/16/10 at 7:09 PM

you big softie.

good things.

Posted by: Keaton Taylor on 02/17/10 at 6:34 AM

Dude, your “Recovery” logo is totally on the CNN start page this morning. Bitchen, fer-sher!

Posted by: Hottois on 02/17/10 at 8:12 AM

Great post. Sounds like an amazing place to visit. I really love Michigan men who grew up with a little Catholicism, escaped to the Pacific NW and still scream at the TV when the Red Wings play…seriously good people.

Posted by: Andrea on 02/18/10 at 10:32 AM
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