I just can’t seem to get a handle on this waking up on time thing. Once again today, I was late at getting myself up and getting ready for the day. With five minutes till I needed to be ready to leave, I awoke disoriented and confused. I got out of bed as fast as I could and got dressed once I realized what time it was. I ran out the door and straight to the bus. Our first stop this morning at 7 AM was St. Peter’s Basilica for our seminary mass.
Father Edward celebrated our mass today for us in the chapel of Our Lady of Expectant Mothers. This chapel is in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was a beautiful mass offered for all our mothers and grandmothers both living and deceased. On our way into the crypt, our group got separated. When my half of the group was separated, I was the first in line and the security guard would not let are grouped into the crypt. My lack of knowledge of Italian hindered me from being able to communicate with him that we were a part of a group that was having Mass in the basilicas crypt. The Swiss guard just looked at me as if I were crazy, and handed me a piece of paper indicating to me to point out which group I was with. In my state of confusion again, I became frazzled I couldn’t even read what was on the paper. I did my best to stay cool, begging to find someone who could speak Italian and English to help me out. Luckily, once I looked at the paper a third time, one of the other seminarians was able to point out to me Father Edward Mazich’s last name on the paper. I was relieved and pointed with great joy at his name on the paper. The guard just looked at me confused, and said to me in English “oh you’re a seminarian!” I was just so relieved that he finally understood what I was trying to say that I could care less that he actually understood English.
Once into the crypt, I had no idea where I was going, and everyone followed me to my dismay. I could not find Father Edward or the Chapel that we were supposed to be in, and ended up leading the group to a dead end where a bunch of Polish priests and bishops we’re celebrating mass. Needless to say, I started to feel very stupid and nervous. It was at that moment that Father Edward appeared before us and beckoned us to follow him to our chapel. We started mass and it was a beautiful celebration.
At the conclusion of our mass, we returned to the nave of the Basilica while we waited for Father Edward and the deacons to return from the sacristy. Once they return, we headed to the Vatican museum where we spent the rest of our morning. Now I have very few pictures from this as it was so overwhelming with all of the information and sites sounds and smells that was being thrown at me. It was a spectacular tour, but the time for by so fast that I forgot to take pictures. That, and in many areas, you are forbidden to take pictures, such as the Sistine Chapel.
At this point in our day, we were “set free” upon the city of Rome. I spent the rest of my day with my diocesan brother David Whiteford wandering the city. We headed to Castel Sant’Angelo. This castle was used by the papacy as a location where the pope could go if he needed to be protected. The military history was fascinating inside of the castle.
The rest of our afternoon and evening was filled with more wandering and exploring Rome. We ended our day with another spectacular meal and a quick ride home to Sant’Anselmo.
Tomorrow, we are blessed with another free day. Some of us will be attending the stational mass at Santa Maria Maggiore. My classmates, Dan Car of the diocese of Greensburg, informed me that he will be the cantor for tomorrow’s mass. I look forward to attending this mass and spending time with the other English-speaking seminarians and priests and faithful in Rome.
Know my prayers for you, and continue to pray for me, as we make this journey together.
Fr. Andy Boyd is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Erie, PA. Currently, Father Andy is assigned to Saint George Parish in Erie, PA.
Father Andy entered seminary after high school, graduating from Gannon University and Saint Mark Seminary in 2014. In the fall of 2014, Father Andy began his Major Seminary Studies at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe PA. Father Andy graduated from Saint Vincent Seminary with his Masters of Divinity in May 2018, and was ordained a priest in June 2018.
An avowed “Catholic Geek,” Fr. Andy spends his free time dabbling in media creation and network and server management.
Listen to Father Andy in his podcast Encounter Mercy.