Eventually, I will get around to posting some photos and telling you all about the experience. I will frame the discussion by telling you off the bat that it would seem that most of the people who took this journey with me were not so much interested in the spiritual benefit as they were in taking a trip to Italy and shopping. I'm very glad to have gone, but I doubt I will return. It was very hard to have any prayer time or solitude. There was but a handful of fellow "pilgrims" who understood proper reverence of the Blessed Sacrament and appropriate behavior in sacred places. Believe when I tell you that I took advantage of every opportunity to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and I offered all of your intentions in some very sacred spaces, some well-known and others off the beaten path.
The trip was complicated by the presence of an individual who is very troubled. He should have had a caretaker with him as his behavior was often very inappropriate and intrusive and on top of it, he had a tendency to wander and get lost. For some reason, he had an affinity for me and I noticed that the people who claimed to have the most sympathy for him were those that spent the least amount of time with him. Suffice it to say that I could have gone to confession every single day and still would not have felt it was enough. I did my best given my own short-comings and the limitations of being human. How he managed to finance and arrange such a trip is still a mystery to me. Please keep him in your prayers and please beg God's forgiveness of the moments I had with him when I felt less than Christian.
There were times when I simply felt I had died and gone to Heaven. The culmination of the trip for me was the visit to the Grotto of Saint Michael, which was the reason I went on this journey to begin with. I made a bee-line for the cave where the great Archangel appeared centuries ago and the words of the Nunc Dimitis came to mind, I felt so at peace.
Now, Lord, you can let your servant go in peace.
When some of the fog has cleared from my brain, I will chronicle some of the places we saw. Because the priest who met us in Rome is someone very high in the Augustinian order, most of the sites we visited were of Augustinian saints. He is a very fine priest and although not inclined to celebrate the TLM, he often offered Mass ad orientem and was very faithful to the liturgy with no improvisations.