Posted September 14, 2017 By Phillip Chavez

1.DSC_2457 (7)Today’s Feast: TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS leads to recognition of the amazing basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem located in Rome.

2.DSC_3274 copy (3)According to tradition, the church was consecrated circa 325 to house the relics of the Passion of Jesus Christ brought to Rome from the Holy Land by St. Empress Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine I. Actually, the structure itself was built at the site of Helena’s imperial palace, and has been subject to modifications in the 12th, 16th and 18th centuries.5.IMG_1577 copy 2 (3)

Several famous relics are housed in the Chapel of Relics (Cappella delle Reliquie), built in 1930 by architect Florestano Di Fausto, including part of the Title of the Cross (Titulus Crucis), i.e. the placard which was hung on Christ’s Cross; two spines of the Crown of Thorns; part of one of the Nails driven through a limb of Christ; and three small 3.DSC_3777 (2)wooden pieces of the True Cross.

A much larger piece of the True Cross was taken from the Basilica on the instructions of Pope Urban VIII in 1629 to St. Peter’s Basilica, where it is kept near the colossal statue of St. Empress Helena sculpted by Andrea Bolgi in 1639.DSC_2437 (7)

“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.”



Join Pope Francis for Mass of Pentecost !

WRITE OR CALL for BROCHURE: 951-240-5656

DSC_3266 (6) 4.DSC_3257 (3)DSC_6739 (3)ROME.FLYER.2018.May



Posted August 24, 2017 By Phillip Chavez

DSC_1111This APOSTLE, also known as NATHANIEL, came from Cana in Galilee, as did friend St. Philip. Introduced by Philip, they approach Jesus who immediately says to Bartholomew: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile”(Jn 1:47). Quite the compliment.

According to Roman Martyrology, the Apostle evangelized in Asia Minor, Ethiopia, DSC_2288 (6)India, and finally Armenia, where he was flayed alive and beheaded under King Astyages.

The stunning Church of St. Bartholomew is one of the most interesting churches in Rome, located on a small island within the Tiber River. While here the remains of the Apostle lie, several relics are displayed from the martyrs of the 20th century. John Paul II dedicated this church to the 54+ million martyrs of this last century—a number which amounts to almost 2/3 of all who died for the faith in all church history (imagine that, in DSC_6678 (6)20th C. alone!).

Attached is a letter of Rev. Paul Schneider, an evangelical pastor, written in the Nazi camp of Buchenwald, where he died from torture on July 18, 1939. Schneider is known as the first Nazi martyr. Also, included is the Pastoral staff of Cardinal Juan J. Posadas Ocampo, archbishop of Guadalajara, who was killed by drug traffickers on May 24, 1993.DSC_6683 (6)

Also attached, is a missal of Oscar A. Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, who was killed at the altar when offering Mass on March 24, 1980. And, the latest addition to this Church display: the photo and breviary of Fr. Jacques Hamel, the priest killed by the ISIS attack on the church of Saint-Etienne, in France while he was celebrating DSC_7788 (3)Mass on July 26, 2016.

Heroism can be found all over the world….



Join me: APR 15-24, 2018

Write or Call for Full Brochure: 951-240-5656ROME.FLYER.Apr.2018

DSC_7808 (2)

DSC_6687 (6) DSC_2288 (6) DSC_2280 (5)


Feast: St. Mary Major

Posted August 6, 2017 By Phillip Chavez

DSC_4212 copy (1) Today’s DEDICATION of ST. MARY MAJOR Basilica traces an interesting legend.

On August 5, 350 Pope Liberius had a dream to build a church where iDSC_4246 copy (1)t would actually snow on this day – Mary signaled her chosen spot. A short time later the Esquiline Hill was under a blanket of snow where the pontiff dutifully etched the outline of the new basilica.

DSC_4245 - Version 2Under Pope Sistus in 432 the structure was dedicated in honor of the recent declaration of the Council of Ephesus (431) that Mary was to be acknowledged as the Theotokos, “God Bearer.” When Mary gave birth to the Word made flesh, she delivered the one divine Person in two natures. Accordingly, Mary is rightfully called the “Mother of God.”DSC_4250 - Version 3

At the main altar lie the remains of St. Matthias—that Apostle chosen by lots to fill the vacancy left by Judas. Below the altar are relics of large wood fragments from the manger alleged to be the first crib of the Savior. The fragments were carried to Rome by Christian refugees from the Holy Land fleeing a 7th century Muslim invasion. The basilica still hosts a procession IMG_0990 copy (1)of the Holy Crib every year on Christmas Day.

The basilica is also home to the celebrated icon of the Blessed Virgin known as Salus Populi Romani, “Protectress of the Roman People.” This name comes from a miracle in which the icon helped shield the city from an approach of the plague. Legend claims the image was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. Today, during consecration at Mass, countless roses are released from a net high up in the cupola to observe the legendary founding (snowfall) of IMG_0992 copy (1)the church.

The church is rightly named “Mary Major” because it is the largest and most eminent honoring the Blessed Mother in the world. Some favor to name the basilica “Mary of the Snows (Maria ad Nives) given its wondrous origin.



Attend the Only Canonization Mass in Rome this year!

2 SPOTS left…

Write or Call for Full Brochure: 951-240-5656

DSC_4231 copy (1)



Posted July 24, 2017 By Phillip Chavez

IMG_2227 (1) copyBirgitta of Sweden was an amazing woman of great vision and revelation, and after 19 years in the monastery here – in the heart of Rome – she moves on to her eternal reward in the 14th century.

Securing special permission, the Brigittines were accommodating to bring my IMG_6083 (2) copylast group into the private cloister to see Bridget’s rooms, relics, and belongings inside.

IMG_6048 (2) copyTucked in this compact edifice with a quaint bell tower, the mystical St. Bridget wrote countless pages on the Passion of Christ and other spiritual subjects. The nuns at vespers chant like angels in the church choir, and hearing them is one of the sweeter experiences of downtown Rome.

Absorbing their spirit from a visit inside their domain is hard to describe…IMG_6051 (1) copy IMG_6058 (2) copy IMG_2198 (1) copy IMG_2218 (1) copy