One of the many things that I enjoy about my experience here in Rome is my “apostolate.” An apostolate is an assignment we the seminarians receive out in the city, this comes from the word apostle, or one being sent.
At the NAC, we have quite a variety of apostolates, some work in schools, parishes, hospitals, soup kitchens, nursing homes, universities.
For the past three semesters my apostolate has been with the Bishops’ Office for United States Visitors to the Vatican.
For the past two semesters I have also served as the “capo” or leader of this apostolate, which currently has 23 seminarians assigned. As I said above, it has been a great joy.
We offer free tours of St. Peter’s Basilica M-F at 2:15 P.M. during the school year. We also work at the Bishops’ Office for United States Visitors to the Vatican. There we help with the distribution of tickets for Papal audiences and Masses.
Whether it’s in St. Peter’s Square or at the office, we meet people from so many different backgrounds, perspectives and walks of life.
We try our best to meet the people wherever they may be on their journey, and then help them along the way.
Typically the tours are somewhat small, and so I try to listen and watch how everyone is reacting so I can learn where they are on their own personal journey, then go to meet them and bring them through the basilica.
These have led to many inspiring, intense and emotional spiritual experiences for many. There are so many beautiful and inspiring stories. Yet, it is we the guides too who are inspired and amazed. Inspired by the love and devotion of so many faithful Catholics who are so excited for the opportunity to be in Rome, and amazed at how the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of so many who come not expecting much, but who become moved and changed by the experiences.
It’s a great opportunity for me to learn how to listen, how to teach, and how to love. A way to learn how to become the Shepherd I believe God is calling me to be.
(Update: See my new post on the endorsement of our tours by the New York Post)