Every year for the past 25 years, a group of Gibbons students and educators have attended Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Rome as part of the annual school-sponsored trip to Italy.
“Learning about the history of our religion was very influential and important to me, … seeing the Vatican and of course, experiencing Easter Mass at the Vatican all deepened my faith,” David Ray Lewis '19
To mark the 25th anniversary of the pilgrimage, this year’s group snapped a photo with Pope Francis… Well, sort of.
Thanks to some strategic timing, trip shutterbug – Assistant Principal Mike Curatolo – captured the above photo. At a quick glance, it looks as though the Pontiff’s caravan stopped in front of the Gibbons travelers - clearly identifiable by our school flag in the background
The photo session may seem like a highlight of this year’s trip. It was, however, just one stop on, what members of the group – 38 students and six educators - described as an amazing experience through the country. The trip is a long-standing tradition among Crusaders. Assistant Principal of Student Engagement Mike Rogosich ’90 has been involved in the trip from the start as a chaperone or the organizer.
“It might be the best nine days of my life, every year,” he said. “To be with great kids and educators, touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, and hearing the tangible things of this world that are soaked with the magic of the Eternal City."
On this year’s trip, as in years past, the group visited Rome, Assisi, Florence, Pisa, and Venice. To many, the trip is about experiencing Italy's culture and most everything else the country has to offer, from museums to shopping and food. It is also about students expanding their horizons and learning about their faith and about themselves.
I learned to be open to more things. I was hesitant to go outside of our country but looking back, I'm very glad I did,” said David Ray Lewis ’19. “Learning about the history of our religion was very influential and important to me, … seeing the Vatican and of course, experiencing Easter Mass at the Vatican deepened my faith.”
Caroline Kelly’19 added: “The scope and history of the Catholic faith really struck me on this trip. Seeing the roots of my faith, especially experiencing the basilicas, gave me a newfound appreciation for the tradition that surrounds me.”
This year’s group, like earlier ones, returned to Gibbons with memories that will last a lifetime. But they also brought back that special 25th-anniversary photo, which most likely will be framed and hung on a wall in one of the hallways to be shared with the entire school community.