By CATHERINE NELSON
During the summer of 2011, I was given the opportunity to be part of the Rome Pilgrimage through Bishop Ryan High school.
The trip itself was something I was very grateful for, but the experiences I had during the trip will make it unforgettable.
Submitted Photo - - From left are Bishop Ryan students John Yeager, Catherine Nelson and Rachael Simon on their trip to Rome this past summer.
Submitted Photo - - Bishop Ryan students pose outside the Coliseum on their trip to Rome this past summer.
Submitted Photo - - Rev. Justin Waltz, center, with Meghan Charley, left, and Meghan’s twin brother, Sean Charley, right.
It helped me open my eyes more into the Catholic faith and also the history behind everything. I could sit in class and learn everything through a lecture or a movie, but being at the actual site of what we were learning was a whole different experience.
Some of the historical and holy places we went to were very spiritual and helped me get more into depth about my faith. I think in some of the places we were at, I, myself had some very deep and spiritual experiences. No matter what we did, or what we had to go through, it was still a blast and something that you will never forget.
Everything that I saw on the trip the sites we visited, the food we tried, and the culture differences that we lived through was something that was very memorable and beautiful.
High school juniors and seniors from the three Catholic high schools in the Bismarck Catholic Diocese Dickinson Trinity, Bismarck St. Mary's and Bishop Ryan High School in Minot traveled to Rome, Italy, in June for a three-week tour of museums, cathedrals and the countryside of Italy.
Rev. Justin Waltz, the chaplain at Bishop Ryan High School, said this was the third year that students from Ryan have traveled to Rome.
The teens stayed on the University of Mary's Rome campus, heard lectures from professors and got lessons in Italian language and culture.
Waltz, who has traveled extensively himself, said first-hand exposure to another culture is something he couldn't teach in a year of textbook learning in a high school art class.
Students who returned are considering further study abroad and are able to share their experiences with their classmates.
Students received three humanities credits through the University of Mary, for which they either wrote a 15-page term paper or prepared a visual presentation about the sights of Rome upon their return.
Four Ryan students wrote about their experiences.
The trip itself will help you strengthen your faith in Catholicism and what the church itself had to go through to get where it is today.
The one memory I will never forget and will always cherish was praying in the tomb of St. Francis and receiving the grace I needed to help me within myself.
The things I've learned, the friends I made, the culture differences I went through and the memories I made will make my 2011 summer unforgettable.
It truly was a trip of lifetime that should not be passed up.
Spending our days surrounded by art
By ASHLEY VOELLER
One hundred and twenty high school students from this area departed for Rome in June. After much educational preparation at each of our high schools, and the few days of preparation at the University of Mary before our departure, we came back with an even richer education in Roman history and sacred art.
We spent two full weeks on the grounds of Italy. The majority of our time was spent in Rome and the Vatican, however we also spent a good deal of time in Orvieto, Assisi, Norcia, Monte Cassino, and Subiaco.
Each student was allowed the opportunity to gain college credit upon our return for humanities through the University of Mary to expand our education. The classroom for the class ... none other than Italy.
By touring the Vatican Museum we not only learned much about the faith, but quite a bit about sacred art. It was inspiring to gaze upon the faces of those depicted in the statues and paintings and, through this, experiencing what one could not experience in a text book.
Each and every day we would be surrounded by rich art. Signorelli's chapel full of significant art. One of our chaperones explained the paintings to us as we stood in this chapel and, once explained, we understood the beauty of it.
This chapel was our classroom and because it was, we understood so much more. The Coliseum not only showed us the historical value but the advancement and intellect of the Romans architecturally.
This displayed what we learned in history and art at out respective schools. St. Peter's Basilica was an architectural advancement as well. The biggest Basilica in the world is also one of the biggest art advancements in the world. The Basilica in and of itself is a piece of art. The statues are properly proportioned to provide the pilgrim with a better experience. The cupola, which all of us ascended also provided one with the beauty of the art and allowed an educational experience that one could not achieve inside a text book.
Inside we saw the rich art, and realized how advanced the Romans were with the proper proportions and it provided wonderful experiences for all of us. As well, we learned about the intellect of Michelangelo through the "Creation of Adam." During his time, they were studying the brain, and we realized that the maroon blob that God is in is a brain showing the thought process of creation. This is an excellent reminder of the intellect of these individuals. The experience was not only spiritual, but educational.
Gaining a greater sense of responsibility to others
By SEAN CHARLEY
This past June, students from the three Catholic high schools of the Bismarck diocese were afforded an unforgettable experience and an incredible privilege: a Rome Study Pilgrimage. Now, several weeks later, I realize I have returned to my family and my school with a new understanding of my faith and a greater sense of responsibility to others.
Our preparation for this pilgrimage began early last fall, with informational meetings for both pilgrims and parents. We quickly learned that this journey to Rome and other Italian cities would be filled with instruction, prayer, a full itinerary, and visits to some of the most beautiful sites of Italy, all to be experienced without cellphones, iPods or personal computers. It was a pilgrimage, we were reminded; a unique and prayerful experience that required a certain focus and intent to make it fully worthwhile.
We were all open to the opportunity to study and learn about the historical roots of our faith and the ancient history of the Italian people. Preparation for this educational journey and spiritual pilgrimage continued at the University of Mary in Bismarck, several days before we were scheduled to leave for Rome. During this time, we were involved in intense classes, including a crash course in important Italian phrases, the value of immersing ourselves in the European culture, and the critical nature of our passports.
While on our pilgrimage, we visited many holy places of Europe and were able to study Roman art and culture at the University of Mary's campus in Rome. Immediately, we began to immerse ourselves in the beauty that was placed before us: famous museums, historic churches filled with sacred art, St. Peter's Basilica, a Papal audience, The Pieta, the Sistine Chapel, beautiful monasteries. Our cameras couldn't take pictures fast enough, nor could they capture the real beauty of it all. While we were in Italy, we even found time to eat at some of the best Italian restaurants, and spend a relaxing day at the Mediterranean.
After experiencing all of this firsthand, it is easy to see why people from around the world are in awe of Rome and its history of civilization. More importantly, through the inspiration given to us through the lives of such great and holy men and women who stopped living for themselves and their worldly desires, I realize how fortunate I am for the freedom to practice my faith and how grateful I am for this life-changing experience.
It is true, I believe, that one can only know so much by reason. Where reason stops, faith begins. This pilgrimage has reshaped my thinking, deepened my faith and left me with a deep desire to one day return to the Eternal City.
Pilgrimage to Rome a life-changing trip
By MEGHAN CHARLEY
This past June I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy, with my classmates and other Catholic high school juniors and seniors from around North Dakota. This study pilgrimage was made possible through the Catholic high schools in the Bismarck diocese in conjunction with the University of Mary. In the span of just three weeks I learned more about my Catholic faith and the history and tradition of the Church than I ever thought possible.
Throughout my pilgrimage experience I could feel God opening my heart to receive the many graces that he was pouring out, and because of that I am now filled with a new love and a fire for my faith that I am able to carry with me throughout the rest of my time at Bishop Ryan High School. This Rome study pilgrimage went above and beyond simply deepening my faith. My time spent in Rome and several other nearby towns proved to be a truly inspiring, educational journey.
We began our pilgrimage by taking classes at the University of Mary. This helped me immensely in understanding the complex history of the Eternal City. I learned many interesting things about the food, language, and culture of Italy, as well as some tips on how to make the trip a successful one.
Every day in Italy was filled with new things to learn and new sites to see. We were lucky enough to be able to visit the four major basilicas in Rome as well as several other churches and significant holy sites. At each new location, I learned about the historical significance, and the important role that each one played in shaping the future of our world. As I walked the cobblestone streets of Rome, I found pieces of history around every corner. Our school chaplain, Father Justin Waltz, and the other chaperones on this trip taught me so much about the sacred art, architecture, and important figures in the history of Rome. I realize that, had they not taken the time to explain these things to me, I would never have been able to grasp the true beauty and rich tradition of Rome.
One of the most fascinating places we visited was the Galleria Borghese. This magnificent art gallery is home to original works by many famous artists like Picasso, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.
Experiencing Rome proved to be spiritual as well as educational. I'm so glad that I got to be a part of such a life-changing trip.