We took a train on the 19th to Montefiascone, a town northwest of Rome. We spent the night at a seminary belonging to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE). This is an order of religious priests dedicated to the missions. They go to the places that other priests may not want to go. After dinner (which started at 9:30 pm), they sang songs from different countries (there are seminarians there from Italy, Germany, France, Ukraine, Ireland, Scotland and other countries as well). We sang "Country Roads" for them to give them a taste of America.
It was inspiring to speak with these men and to learn what motivated them to be missionaries. Some of the problems we face seem small compared to their challenges. For example, one priest who spent some years in Syria had to face the martyrdom of many of his parishioners. One of the priests of the community told us that we need to be crucified priests, priests who always show forth the love of Jesus.
We spent Thursday night at the seminary and on Friday they took us to see a Eucharistic miracle. In the middle ages, a priest from Prague was doubting Christ's true presence in the Eucharist so he was going to Italy to speak with the Pope about it. He said Mass along the way in a Church near the IVE seminary and the Host started to bleed (this Church still has the pieces of the altar with blood stains).The priest went to show the Pope what had happened. The Pope was so moved he asked St. Thomas Aquinas to compose prayers for a liturgy dedicated to the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. This was the beginning of a feast that we celebrate every year, Corpus Christi.
We came back to Rome Friday night tired but joyful having encountered these men.
God bless you.
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