Holy Steps

In Rome, the seminarians ascend the Holy Steps, which St. Helena brought back from the Holy Land in the 4th Century. The original 28 marble steps have been covered with wood and must be ascended on one’s knees.

Today was an amazing day. We started with Lauds before heading out to the Holy Steps. These Steps were the steps Jesus ascended during his Passion when he was judged by Pontius Pilate, and they were moved from Jerusalem to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th Century. Now, they are located near the Cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran. Some of the seminarians ascended the Steps on their knees in memory of our Lord making his way to Pontius Pilate. The seminarians prayed as they made their way to the top with the Lord’s suffering in mind. We then walked to the cathedral but were told to return after lunch since there was a special Mass going on inside. Changing plans, we travelled to the Catacombs for a tour and Mass. After lunch, we stopped by the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls before coming back to St. John Lateran. 

The seminarians stand in the courtyard of St. Paul outside the Wall
A side-aisle of St. Paul Outside the Wall, which is second in the world only to St. Peter’s Basilica in size.
One of the chains that bound St. Paul after his arrest. It sits just above his tomb.
The seminarians pray before the tomb of St. Paul (grated) and the relic of his chains (above).

Today was especially wonderful for me since I felt such peace and comfort in my soul. During this pilgrimage I have become close with several of my classmates who have helped me to see the beauty of the journey toward priesthood. Watching everyone pitch in to play their part has motivated and inspired me beyond measure. My brother seminarians have helped me to solidify my decision in following Christ through the witness of their lives. This, along with the places we visited, reminded me that although I have made it this far, the journey is not over and that I must persevere until the end. Today reminded me of what it means to be a follower of the Lord; that I must pick up my cross and carry it with Jesus if I wish to be his disciple. As his disciple I must continue to grow in virtue and holiness by dying to myself each day. However, this does not have to be done alone. There are others who will be carrying their own crosses right beside me.

-Thien Bui, Diocese of San Jose

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