Thursday, 30 May 2013

A special visit.

During my visit to Rome I made a special trip to the altar and tomb of Bl John Paul II in St Peter's. I also made another special visit to the tomb and shrine of St Benedict Joseph Labre. I had warmed to this saint many years ago when I heard Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR speaking about him, and also through hearing about his visit to the Vianney household in Dardilly when St John Vianney was a boy.
St Benedict Joseph Labre's tomb and shrine is just north of the Colosseum: his body lies in the church of Sta Maria dei Monti, and his shrine, the house where he died, is just round the corner, 2, Via dei Serpenti.
I spent some time by his altar and tomb; I took the above photo there. Then, ringing the doorbell of Number 2, Via dei Serpenti, I was admitted and taken up to the first floor. There, the room in which he died is preserved as a shrine. Just next to the place where he died is an altar where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. In a room next door there are cabinets which hold his few possessions: his clothes and his copy of the Imitation of Christ. It is a very moving shrine to this much loved saint and I was able to stay there for some time. I asked his prayers for Europe and the New Evangelisation. I asked for his prayers also for young people today; that they might, with grace, navigate the present era and come safely to Christ.
Outside again I walked back to the Colosseum and caught a sight of Arch 43, the arch under which the saint used to sleep during much of his time in Rome.
If you are in Rome, do try to visit this shrine.

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