Local resident, Peter Vale, has been studying and working at the Vatican and the Pontifical North American College. San Marco Catholic Church and the Diocese of Venice, as well as family and friends have been encouraging in his endeavors. During weekends and some holidays, Peter has the opportunity to visit surrounding areas and holy sites in other countries.
Recently, Peter made a weekend pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain. “We flew into Lisbon, rented a small car there, and drove all the way up to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain (a 5.5-hour ride). Because the church there is supposed to contain the remains of James the Apostle, this has been a traditional pilgrimage site going back to the Middle Ages (on par with Jerusalem and Rome). Besides the relics of St. James, the other most famous artifact there is the “botafumeiro” — an enormous vessel for incense that reportedly was used to help kill the stench from thepilgrims who arrived there after walking for over a month!”
We spent about three hours exploring everything (and felt really lazy for having arrived in a car…), then drove down to Fatima. We spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning at the shrine and various apparition sites where both the Blessed Mother and an angel are reported to have appeared to the three shepherd children on numerous occasions in 1917. We then made our way back down to Lisbon to return the car and fly back to Rome. It was quite an ambitious weekend, but totally worth it!”
Upon his return to Rome, Peter attended the traditional 5K Turkey Trot around the entire Vatican (the only one in the world to go around an entire sovereign nation!). Peter celebrated Mass and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast. Ambassador Kenneth Hackett and his wife joined his group at the Florida table, which made it extra special for him.
Watch for more updates on Peter’s time at the Vatican…