Buona Pasqua!!

He is risen!!!

We were up super early this morning to get our spots for Easter Mass.  It was packed already when we got there around seven a.m. for the 10:15 Mass.  The line was a bit mob-like but we survived, the boys eating breakfast smooshed amongst travelers from all over the world and Italian ladies who really do pinch cheeks.  

Waiting in line

All set up for Mass

We were really happy to get seats right here and were surrounded by some awesome people we got to chat with.  Hearing all the different languages really gives you a sense of how universal our Church truly is but it is nice to meet people you can speak with, too!

For over two hours the boys colored and ate and entertained the lovely Guatemalan nuns behind us.  We met a seminarian from Wisconsin (studying in Rome), some people from Dallas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and D.C.  

These nuns were awesome and loved talking with the boys as best they could.  John Paul did his best Spanglish and Luke was giving kisses.  

I'm pretty sure the boys made their day.  They had tears in their eyes when we parted ways at the end of Mass!

The couple in front of us tried to get our picture with the special boy.  He was slightly blinded by the sun and trying his best to hold his eyes open.  This was the best shot we got :)  The weather couldn't have been better.

David wanted some of the action.

One view of the crowds

And another...I can't even fathom what the canonization will be like.

During the long wait I suggested that Brian go up to one of the guards/escort men and ask if they had any suggestions for Michael being able to make his First Communion on the off chance that they could help us out.  We had gotten our pastor's permission to receive if we were given the opportunity.  There just happened to be an American nun with a group of girls from Duquesne sitting right behind the barricades who overheard and were thrilled to help us.  (One of the girls was even from my hometown...how crazy is that?)  

When Communion time came, we were able to go up before everyone else and all the people around knew it was Michael's special day as word had spread during the wait.  Sister and the girls made room, the priest came down, and our little Michael Joseph received our Lord for the first time in St. Peter's square with the Eucharist consecrated by Pope Francis.  

God is amazing.

This was the best shot I could get with the crowds but that's Sister Mercedes behind him and look at the girl's face in the background!  They were all so sweet.

We got back to our spot and then the tears came.  
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for showing a little boy just how much You love him and listen to his prayers.  Thank you for loving our Michael more than we could ever imagine.  
Thank you for letting us be here.
Thank you for the ridiculous undeserved gifts you keep pouring down upon us.  

The Mass itself was so beautiful.  Readings and prayers of the faithful in all different languages.  The Gospel is chanted once in Latin and then in Greek, which I thought was neat.  The little boys did unbelievably well, despite the fact that Luke barely slept the night before, which was very good because there was really nowhere to take them anyway if they were having a hard time and we were sure it was going to be rough.  The schola (chorale)...oh my.  It gives you chills.  I don't ever want to forget hearing the Easter Alleluia in St. Peter's.  I did remember to lift up all your intentions during the Consecration and it brought me so much joy to be able to do that.

The boys loved seeing the Swiss Guard do their Easter thing which involved marching and drums and spears and was pretty cool.  At the end of Mass the bells tolled and tolled and oh my goodness, we did our best to soak it all in.  There are no words to describe the blessing it was to be there.

Someone was sort of happy at the end of Mass...

And then little did we know but Pope Francis was getting in the popemobile and came through near our spot not once but twice.  I didn't get a good picture of the first roll through but how bout this:

You know what was so cool?  So many people offered to hold the boys to get a better view.  The seminarian Luke that we met held somebody and I think one of the nuns was holding somebody.  It was so great.  All of the boys got to get pretty close and see.

Then he went up to the window for the Ubi et Orbi address and blessing.

The final wave :)

We managed to get one shot in of Michael on his special day in front of St. Peter's as we were getting moved out.

And those sweet girls also managed to get a family shot for us that didn't turn out half bad, even if the sun was crazy bright!

After Mass we finally finally got our first taste of Italian gelato.  Our self-control these past few days was near heroic levels.  I'm pretty sure David thinks that now that Easter is here we'll be eating gelato every day from now on.  He may be right :)

Buona Pasqua, friends!  
Thank you so so much for your prayers for us.
May the risen Christ be with you and bless you and draw you ever closer to His life and heart!  May your Easter season be filled in abundance with His grace and blessings!  

Other Notes from Today:
-Remember always John Paul saying at the end of the day "I don't have the words to say how happy I am for Michael."
-I love that the Vatican provides booklets for every Mass with an English and Italian translation of the Latin.  So helpful.
-Not gonna lie, the pizza is eh.  And I think we'll be eating almost all of our meals from here on out from our little apartment kitchen after seeing the bill for the simplest of dinners out...
-Apparently, Romans on Holy Saturday night (or maybe just every Saturday) are up til all hours of the night.  Sleeping was near impossible until like 3 a.m.  It was cool hearing St. Peter's tolling the bells at midnight, though.
-Apartment living...so different.  
-Luke has no issue saying "ciao!" to strangers or with having nuns he doesn't know tickle him.
-It was sorta nice not having to worry a thing about Easter baskets this year...
-But I did miss seeing family!
-Don't forget the sound of the boys yelling "Buona Pasqua!" in St. Peter's square and David yelling "Alleluia!" as we walked down the street.  


  1. Happy Easter!!!! As soon as my phone told me I had a knew message from Better Than Eden, I stopped, went to the computer and read your post. So happy for Michael and all of you. The family picture is beautiful. After hearing you describe the crowd around you I am less anxious about you being in the crowds next weekend. Love and hugs to all. Grandma

  2. Oh sweet Michael - I have tears of happiness for you on this special day! We were anxiously awaiting and praying it would be the most awesome day full of blessings for you and it sounds like it was- God bless!

  3. Happy Easter and congratulations to Michael! What a super blessed day!!
    You all look so happy (and Mary, you are especially beautiful!! We are really enjoying following along your adventure/pilgrimage! Thanks for keeping us updated!

  4. I am overwhelmed with joy for our beautiful, sweet Michael and his pure heart who prayed a sweet child's prayer to his Father in Heaven to give him the gift of First Holy Communion in Rome and He answered it!! Is our God good? Oh yes indeed! I'm crying tears of joy for you-what an amazing, beautiful gift- I can't even express. Love you soo much!!

  5. Buona Pasqua! And Congratulations Michael!!!

  6. What a beautiful gift for him! I had tears in my eyes reading it, so special. And that family shot of you all in front of the basilica is gorgeous

  7. Hi Mary,

    I wrote awhile ago about taking a trip to Rome and I'm leaving tomorrow to make a pilgrimage for the Canonization also! It is increasing my excitement to read about your adventures. I am so happy for your Michael to receive his First Holy Communion at Easter in St. Peter's with Pope Francis! Praise God! I am experiencing a slight snafoo with one of my reservations for an accommodation, please pray that it can be resolved before I leave tomorrow or my friend will have a challenging second part of our trip. Thanks! Maybe I'll see you in Rome. :-)

    1. How awesome would that be?? I will definitely pray that everything works out. We've had a less than stellar apartment experience...people here seem way more relaxed about certain things, that's for sure!

  8. So thrilled for Michael!!!! Wishing you all a wonderful Easter! Totally Awesome to be there!!!

  9. Oh, Mary!! I am so happy for Michael and your whole family!
    All of your pictures are so beautiful, especially the one of all of you! Thanks for posting and letting us "join" you on your trip!
    Happy Easter!

  10. What an incredible gift you gave your son!!!! How moving, very beautiful indeed! What memories for your family!

    Easter Blessings - He is Risen, Alleluia! Regina Caeli, Laetare!

  11. What a very moving post! I am crying and I don't really know you. But, there is a universal thrill and joy in any Catholic's First Holy Communion. My future daughter-in-law made her First Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil, and when she asked me exactly how to receive on the tongue (even though all the other candidates received in the hand) I was so moved by her great love for the Eucharist. It's beautiful.

    Thanks be to God for all those beautiful people you are celebrating with!

  12. Mary
    I literally feel like I was there with you...this is an amazing post!!
    The pics are beautiful. I think I love the one of your son receiving almost as much as the one of all 5 of you in St Peter's Sq.
    What memories....I feel privileged to share in this journey with you through your posts. My boys are reading your blog now too and they simply are loving your commentary on Rome. THANK YOU, friend
    Please continue to be safe and please enjoy....I'm so happy for you to be there for the canonization! My older son is taking the name Karol for his confirmation in 2 weeks bc we adore JPII.
    Looking fwd to more whenever you get the chance to blog!
    ~Love, Chris

  13. What a FABULOUS day for a first communion!!!! I am happy to hear that the people around you are so accommodating and kind to the boys and each other. Several of my friends attended the beatification of JPII. It was so crowded they could not move and one of my friends fainted due to the heat. Thankfully her husband had his Italian/English book with him and the paramedics were very efficient.. Several of these same friends are traveling to Rome for JPII canonization. I will watch it on EWTN at home where I do not have to worry about where is the bathrooms ;)

    1. P.S. Congratulations to your son on his first communion.

  14. Sounds like you had a wonderful day. I love the family picture.

  15. This post brought tears to my eyes! Happy joyful tears! What a wonderful experience for all of you. Congratulations Michael!

  16. This is so movingly beautiful what you and your family are able to experience. It brought tears to my eyes to see Micheal receiving his first Communion at Saint Peter's on Easter Sunday and then again when John Paul made his comment. So beautiful!!!! Did you get to see the pillar of flagellation close to St. Mary Major's basillica?


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