Early Tuesday morning 4/20/2010
Well our bags are packed and we monitor hourly the latest flight information to Rome, as the worst interruption in air service since jet planes began in the 1950’s has befallen most of Europe.
Just a little over three weeks ago, I decided to take our 14-year old daughter Teresa and her two friends to see the Shroud of Turin. Initially I wanted to fly into Milan or Venice in northern Italy for the quick trip in and out of Turin, also in the north reaches of Italy. Instead we decided on Rome, the Eternal City, to spend a few days learning more about our Catholic faith there and see more of Italy by rail and car.
Initially when making plane reservations we also wanted to route through Amsterdam, to check out another European city, in the end we settled on a direct connection from our home in Bismarck to Minneapolis to Atlanta to Rome. Had we not been “guided” to that choice, this trip, like thousands of others would have been disrupted because of the huge volcanic ash plume from Iceland. Rome and Madrid, Spain are about the only cities in Europe that have been spared, for the most part from the volcanic airline disruptions.
It will be a long journey from our home in Bismarck when we leave early Tuesday morning (April 20th). We have to make three airline connections, fly all evening, arrive in Rome on Wednesday morning, take two different trains for 7 hours to Turin. If we are lucky, we will get to stand in line for two or three hours Wednesday evening and get our first opportunity, for two or three minutes to stand before what nearly two million people are coming to see: The Shroud of Turin.
I have been interested in the Shroud of Turin for nearly 25 years. Never did I imagine when I first became interested that I would be bringing my newly confirmed 14-year old daughter, and her two friends with me to see it one day. If I could I would be bringing my other nine children, and my wife Patti, but that is neither practical nor affordable for us. So the four of us will be bearing witnesses to what we see, feel and hear in the next 9 days not only for our families but for the Catholic Exchange family as well.
I wrote about the Shroud of Turin back on April 9th, so I don’t want to repeat what I have already written there. http://catholicexchange.com/2010/04/09/129139/
As I said in the article, no one would ever be required to “believe” that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. One thing is clear, to this day none of the skeptics can accurately tell us how the blood stained, linen cloth bears the image of a photographic negative from a man crucified. Learning about the Shroud helps us to learn more about our faith and the suffering the Man in the Shroud endured.
I mentioned that I am taking our 14-year old daughter Teresa. Her two friends are 12-year old Rebecca Liffrig, from a Catholic family of nine children. We’ve known the Liffrigs for 20 years, they live on a farm northwest of Bismarck and we are Godparents to one of their children. Also traveling with us is 13-year old Samantha Pearson, who has a younger brother. Samantha’s family is Baptist and jumped at the opportunity for her to experience this, as they called it, “a trip of a lifetime.”
So pray for us on our journey as we will pray for you. We intend to send back pictures and videos whenever and wherever it is possible. We live in a technologically marvelous place and thanks to Mary Kochan and Margaret Monaghan Schay at Catholic Exchange we will try to provide a front seat on our pilgrimage to the Shroud and the Eternal City and points in between.