ALLEGANY, N.Y.- James Vacco, Dr. Patrick Panzarella, Dr. David DiMattio, Dr. Patricia Parsley and students of St. Bonaventure University were part of a very special experience over the weekend of June 9-11 at Vatican City.
Members of the Western New York group were treated as VIPs at the Vatican, witnessing spectacles the average visitor would not see. Cristina Carlo-Stella, the chief of staff of the Office of the Fabricca, Cardinal Marchisano, Arch-Priest of the Basilica, and Archbishop Chiasarmo, President of the Fabricca, all greeted the students.
The St. Bonaventure group was exposed to the original, walk-in model of the proposed new St. Peter’s Basilica by Sangallo of 1500. Also, they visited the archives room filled with documents that date back over 1,000 years. This collection includes some of the plans and bills submitted by Michelangelo when he was involved in the building project of the new St. Peter’s. The St. Bonaventure group was able to experience how mosaics are created and watched artists actually begin the very delicate and detailed process. Then the group ventured into the underground necropolis and visited the tomb of St. Peter.
Some students traveled to Capri, Italy, while others spent the weekend in Rome to visit numerous Christian sites. The group in Rome celebrated Mass in the catacombs of St. Priscilla and then visited the Lateran Basilica, St. Mary Major and the Colosseum.
Serving the evening meal to the poor of Rome at the San Egilio Community Kitchen was another event the group took part in. San Egilio was one of the first lay movements for outreach and international concerns that developed after Vatican II. This community kitchen has been known to serve 1,500 people a day.
Sunday, June 11, James celebrated Mass for a small group of travelers in Clementine Chapel, built over the tomb of St. Peter.