Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Blog

Sistine Chapel and the Vatican

June 15, 2013

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.

Loren L. Johns, Professor of New Testament

We arrived to the Rome airport on time. We easily found the two people who were responsible to meet us (one responsible for the luggage, the other for the people), but they had no idea that people were coming in at different times on different flights. Sara and I knew that we were to meet four people on the way to the Vatican City. In the meantime, two couples had difficulties getting out on their scheduled flights. There were four people we needed to meet at the airport somewhere. While most of us retrieved our luggage, others went outside of security to look for the two couples . . . and found them.

We spent the day touring the Vatican. We saw the Sistine Chapel, which was jam-packed full of people, many of whom (though not all) were trying not to talk too much or too loudly, and many of whom (though not all) were trying to obey the rule that no picture-taking is allowed in the chapel. Amazing chapel! Having seen the chapel in 1974 before its paintings were restored, I have to say that “new look” is astounding! The colors are so vivid and the chapel deserves so much more time than the 20 minutes or so that we could spend in it!

It was in the Sistine Chapel where we lost one of our pilgrims—our first, and we hope our last. One member of our group left the Sistine Chapel ahead of the rest. She thought the group was ahead of her and kept trying to catch up, but could not. Fortunately, Gerald Shenk was able to see her walking in St. Peter’s Square and was able to get her attention. So the stray sheep was gathered to the flock, which seems somehow biblical.

There was an unusual number of motorcycles in Rome this weekend. According to our guide, a Harley Davidson convention was occurring this weekend and on Sunday they were to have an audience with the Pope (presumably the riders, not the motorcycles). It was good that we went to the Vatican on Saturday, because it was quite crowded on Saturday but would have been a crush on Sunday. St. Peter’s Square swarmed with people on Sunday, as we could see when we drove by in the bus.

The day (if it can be called that) was long. Most of us were still in the clothes we had put on Friday morning. Then we toured the Vatican all day Saturday, and by the end of the day, we were all quite tired and thinking about half-straight. But it was a good day.

Quote of the Day:
Standing in the hot sun in Vatican City:
“This is a two-shirt day, but I have only one shirt!”
--Earl Sutter


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Welcome to this window on the 2013 Mediterranean Cruisetour. As Sara Wenger Shenk, AMBS president, and Loren Johns, AMBS professor of New Testament, and 43 other travelers explore the places where the Apostle Paul traveled, they will share photos and reports here. Come back to this space for what we hope will be daily snapshots in words and photos of what the group is experiencing.

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Visit Menno Travel to learn more about the Cruisetour.