Footsteps in Rome

Photo by Andrea Ranalli

Photo by Andrea Ranalli

This is the 2015 blog for our Saint Mary’s College pilgrimage to Rome. We are present-day pilgrims walking in the footsteps of the early Christians. As an example of “backpack journalism,” this website gives you a chance to hear our stories, conversations, and insights; along with a viewing of our photos and videos of this remarkable experience. Send us a comment and we’ll pray for you!

Our student-produced radio show is airing on npr.org.  CLICK HERE TO HEAR!

Please also read our articles in The East Bay MonthlyThe Catholic Voice and The Catholic News Herald


An Audience with the Pope: The hottest ticket in town

Fans started queuing up well before dawn. They rushed the gate when it opened, hoping to secure a seat near this man who has burst onto the world stage. Pope Francis is a rock star. His picture is plastered all across Italy and his Wednesday Papal Audiences are a hot ticket in Rome. Continue reading

Assisi: The Spirit of Saint Francis Then and Now

Our pilgrimage to the medieval village of Assisi was filled with prayer, laughter and friendship. We spent much of the day with two Franciscan monks – who showed us what it’s like to live joyfully for Christ. Spend a few minutes and let our video and radio podcast take you to the home of Saint Francis:

Videography by Ginny Prior, Production by Mitchell Woodrow.


Rather have radio? Here’s Hope Blain narrating a short podcast from Assisi:


Journey to Subiaco

Subiaco is a town in the Province of Rome, in Lazio, Italy, 40 kilometres from Tivoli alongside the river Aniene. The Monastery of St. Benedict enshrines Benedict’s cave. Pilgrims can stay just below the monastery at the Saint Scholastica Retreat Center,

Producer – Mitchell Woodrow, Photographer – Natalie Derksen, Go Pro videographer – Ginny Prior. Thanks to all SMC Pilgrims who contributed to this video.

The Feast of Saint Sebastian

Only a foot soldier of Christ could fearlessly face being tied to a tree and shot full of arrows. Saint Sebastian survived this execution attempt and returned to tell Roman emperor Diocletian to repent for his sins. Diocletian’s answer was to have Saint Sebastian beaten to death and his body thrown in the sewers of Rome circa 288 AD.

Here is a short film that takes you to the Basilica where Saint Sebastian is honored on January 20, his feast day. The faithful can visit both the church and the catacombs where his remains are believed to be buried. – Ginny Prior


Young Seminarians Answer Pope’s Call for New Evangelization

The energy is palpable. A full enrollment of young Americans are studying for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College. These men are part of a new generation of foot soldiers for Christ. Father Mike Russo takes you there in this short podcast, produced by Matt Magnaghi:

Interview with Matthew Murray – East Bay Seminarian in Rome





Saint Agnes: Martyred at 13 – honored forevermore

Imagine being so fervent in your faith that you are willing to die for it. Imagine being 13 years old. Saint Agnes held fast to her Christian beliefs and was martyred in 304 AD. Her feast day is celebrated on January 21. In Rome, it is a moving tradition that attracts a large flock of faithful and two baby lambs who have been specially chosen to symbolize Saint Agnes and Jesus, the lamb of God. Join us for this celebration:


Videographer – Ginny Prior; Photographer – Marian Pantaleon; Producer – Mitchell Woodrow. Thanks to all Saint Mary’s pilgrims who contributed photos to this video.