Thursday, April 26, 2007

Good Friday with Pope Benedict XVI

Our Northwest Airlines flight from San Francisco landed in Leonardo da Vinci airport of Rome shortly after noon Friday of Holy Week. We were glad to be in the Eternal City at this time for it was GOOD FRIDAY. After a quick check in at our Holiday Inn hotel, we drove towards the Vatican and joined what looked like several hundred thousands of devotees/tourists in Piazza St. Pietro as well as inside the Cathedral itself.

With my extra long Sony video zoom lens and standing on my toes for long seconds at a time I got to shoot Our Holy Father at the main altar together with his entourage of Cardinals - but Pope Benedict was in bare feet!

They were holding readings in all languages consecutively as appropriate Catholic services during the high point in Our Lord's suffering and death on Good Friday. For the benefit of the people outside there were chairs placed all over as well as flat and large screen HD monitors in strategic places showing what was going on inside the Cathedral.

To Chita and me, Paris and Rome are undying destinations that we will never tire of visiting for as long as we can afford to - for various reasons. This time our trip to Rome was related to a planned cruise around Mediterranean ports in Greece, Turkey, and Italy aboard the CARNIVAL FREEDOM, a brand new cruise ship of CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES only on its second voyage. From April 6 - 20 we enjoyed the on board fun, for "fun" is what Carnival Cruise Lines is known for as we have experienced during the past two others [i.e. Caribbean cruise and the Mexican Riviera cruise].

Among the significant highlights of this cruise was our visit to the place where Our Blessed Virgin Mary lived her final days until she was bodily raised into Heaven [dogma of the Assumption]. The place was Ephesus, in Turkey, which we visited by tour bus together with other tourists from other countries.

Another interesting site we took was by a walking tour of the old mosques and churches in historic Istanbul, Turkey especially in relation to Catholic history, which included the Hagia Sofia.

One major advantage of a sea cruise over a bus and other types of touristic journeys is the fact that one has a "floating hotel" with well planned recreation plus entertainment filled features that one can enjoyo on a cruise ship. One need not have to bother with seeking hotels, packing and unpacking while visiting selected sites as one continues with the tour.

In fact, this third cruise brought out something we failed to notice - and that was the honeymoon element.

During our wedding in 1959 we had no chance to go on a regular honeymoon at all. We both had to go to work the following day.

In the first two cruises we were with our grandsons and then with the other children and their respective families.

If you look closely at our picture you just might notice a sparkle of excitement and love.


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