Heather in Rome

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - St. Augustine

Monday, November 14

Storming Lisbon

From Nov.5-13, the Emmanuel School of Mission-Rome joined the other three Emmanuel Schools and approx. 1700 other people from around the world in Lisbon, Portugal for the International Congress of the New Evanglization. Every morning we would gather in St. Jeronimos Basilica, which was very beautiful and large, for 2-3 testimonies, a speaker, and Mass. After Mass, our school would jump on the bus or subway and ride to Vasco de Gama Center, which is a combination of train station, bus depot, and shopping center. We would be there from 2:30-6 pm, performing skits, talking to the people passing by, inviting them to enter our small tent for Eucharistic Adoration/prayer. In the evenings we would hold prayer nights in the parish we were based at or in other churches at the center of the city.

One day we visited Fatima, a site where Mary appeared to 3 children at the beginning of the 20th century. I felt like a tourist at Fatima, running from place to place to see everything because there wasn't enough time, so I didn't like that. One day I'll have to go back. The day before we left there was a procession of the Fatima statue through the streets of Lisbon with 1 million people walking for 2-3 hours, sometimes in the rain. We sang, prayed the Rosary, all that good stuff. And on the way back to our host families, we stopped to eat the pastries of Belém, a famous dessert in Portugal that is even listed in guidebooks.

There is a lot that could be said about the mission week, but rather than boring you, I'll try to consolidate the week into a few good stories or reflections. The first thing that I noticed was how open and willing to look foolish we have become in only 5 weeks. I was singing on buses and the subway, doing hand motions and dances to the songs, talking to any poor guy who made the mistake of making eye contact with me. Sort of kidding on that last point, but I did start talking to a guy on the bus who was looking at the silly scarfs we were wearing and telling him about the congress and the school we are a part of. Not only were we being bold on the public transportation, but we were performing skits in front of people at the train station. And then talking with them after they stopped to watch. It was difficult and no way would I have imagined myself doing it 2 months ago, but there I was. It was great.

In my next entry, I want to recount my encounters with 2 separate guys during the mission. My experience with them formed a missionary heart in me because I saw how one or two encounters with someone can make a difference in their lives, perhaps give them something to think about that will bring conversion later on. So I hope to get to complete that entry soon because the experiences were so powerful for me.


  • At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice to see that your experience out there seems to be getting ubberly cool each time I check out what is goin on with you. Oh, yeah if you ever want to check out my blog just sing up for Xanga. I guess you dont have to write anything just read. Kyrie has like 12 people that write stuff, so its like really cool.

    Thanks for the Postcard it was really sweet of you to send it. It came on a day that I was feeling down on myself, so god mos def sent it with perfect timing.

    So waz goin on here? I will send you an email soon, so the whole world doesn't see. I know Mama Barbara reads this site and stuff. Well, its not like she doesnt know whats goin on with me..

    Anyways, looks like your doing great.

    God bless


  • At 10:19 PM, Blogger The Michael said…

    Hello Heather! Sounds like a adventure your trip my be, fun and eye opening. Post more pictures. I love photos.
    God's speed.

  • At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Heather! Wow! Sounds like Portugal was quite an experience. I am so happy for you that you seem to have found such a good match for your gifts and such a good place for them to grow and touch others. I sent off some snail mail to you today, so hope you get it!!
    Mary (and Andrew, too)


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