Moving from one country (or part of the country) tends to take most of the day -- today was no exception. We said "see you next year" to some of our brothers and sisters as they headed home and not on to Paris. It is sad to see them have to leave us.
We were picked up and driven to the airport in Rome, where we got on our flight to Paris. Somehow that took up the bulk of the day.
A few reflections on Rome:
1. I've never seen so many nuns and priests walking the streets in habits and clericals.
2. The mission and ministry being done is enormous given the size of the Episcopal Church there (here I'm referring to the Joel Nafuma Center).
3. I'm still processing the meeting with the Pope. Yes, really.
4. Walking around and being present amidst so much history was overwhelming, but overhelmingly important for me. It is one thing to read a book or see pictures for travel logs, it is a much more transformative experience to go there. My life has been transformed.
5. The churches which don't look like much on the outside were full of surprises on the inside!
6. There is a deep thirst for visiting holy sites (my assumption given the vast number of people visiting in October!).
7. The food in Rome -- FABULOUS! The coffee -- YUM! The number of people smoking on the street and outside restaurants -- TOO MANY and NO BUENO.
8. The idea of lining up to enter someplace is not natural, apparently. I had to remind people we were in line a number of times, and not have them just come up and cut in front (a pet peeve -- I should just chill about that).
Being able to be there with the bulk of the Bishops Suffragan was a special joy -- we are so few in number, and this is the area one of our fellow Bishops Suffragan oversees -- It is hard to imagine the vast geographical distants that the Convocation of Churches in Europe covers -- but I'm becoming increasingly aware of it now that I've traveled to Paris. It is much more vast than any of our dioceses in the US.
On to Paris.
We arrived at the hotel (the supershuttle driver, hearing us talk (there were 4 bishops in the van), drove us to the American Cathedral on the way to the hotel so we could see it. He stopped in front -- a little out of his way -- so nice!
Well, it was a long day. More tomorrow!