On the way to Vatican City
At St. Peter's Basilica, I am drawn back to the biblical history of when Peter was named as the first pope of our church, when Jesus commanded him to “Feed my lambs.... Tend my sheep.... Feed my sheep”.
On Villa Della Concilazione, entrance to the piazza with the basilica in the background, created by Benito Mussolini.
Walking towards the basilica
A perspective look at the nave of the basilica
The first thing you will notice is a crowd gathered at a side altar to the right of the church, as they view Michelangelo's "La Pieta."
Font for the holy water
Notice that on the sculpture of St. Peter the toe-details of one foot have been smoothened out as pilgrims have continued to prayerfully touch it through all these centuries.
Many biblically-themed "paintings" adorn several side altars. The original paintings were removed during the last world war and, today, they are very intricate mosaics that pilgrims get to look at. Hard to believe? Look closer and you will see very small, colored tiles used to replicate the original designs.
The Baldacchino is a masterpiece by Bernini. Directly below it, on the underground level, is the tomb of St. Peter.
The pope's coat of arms adorns the base of each column of the Baldacchino.
The main altar behind the Baldacchino, where only the pope can say mass
Ceiling detail above the main altar
An archway from the middle part of the nave, leading to the side of the cruciform layout, where several small chapels are located.
The manger scene from last year's display, under the changing colored spotlights...
as seen in regular lighting.
This time, we decided to visit the Vatican Museum. Upon entering from the inside of the church, the Eucharistia, the list of popes really impressed upon me the solid link of the Roman Catholic Church to Jesus Christ, from His first appointment of St. Peter to the present pope.
I was eagerly looking for the manger scene display, this year, but this was all they had, so far.
Out on the piazza, a giant Christmas tree stands close to the makings of a manger scene. On Sundays, this place fills up with pilgrims from all over the world, who come to see and listen to the papal address.
We'll be back on a Sunday, then.