St Peter’s Basilica

Places in Rome (2)

“Peter is here.” On arriving in Rome for the first time, how the Founder of Opus Dei must have longed to go into St Peter’s Basilica to pray before the tomb of St Peter! He spent the whole of his first night in Rome praying on the balcony of the apartment where he was staying with other people of Opus Dei, in the Piazza della Città Leonina, with his eyes fixed on the lighted rooms of the Holy Father in the Vatican nearby. Tags: Church, Places in Rome, Pope, Early Christians

St Peter’s Square

Places in Rome (3)

The majestic façade of St Peter’s Basilica was completed in 1614, when the thirteen statues of the risen Christ, St John the Baptist, and eleven Apostles were placed on the balustrade surmounting the edifice. Tags: Church, Places in Rome, Pope

The Catacombs of St Callixtus

Places in Rome (5)

The Catacombs of St Callixtus are located just outside Rome on the Appian Way. This area began to be used for burials in the second century AD, and some of the local proprietors, who must have been Christians, allowed the bodies of their brethren in the faith to be buried there too. Tags: Early Christians

The Holy Cross in Jerusalem

Places in Rome (6)

In the basilica the precious fragments of the Holy Cross are displayed for the veneration of the faithful. It became the object of devotional visits by the Christian people. St Josemaría went to pray in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme on August 4, 1946. Tags: Cross, Places in Rome, Holy Week

The Roman Forum

Places in Rome (7)

Among the ruins of the Roman Forum it is easy to recall the phrase St Josemaría often used to sum up Opus Dei: “The easiest way to understand Opus Dei is to consider the life of the early Christians.” Tags: Passionately Loving the World, Citizenship, Places in Rome, Early Christians

The Colosseum

Places in Rome (8)

In 1972 St Josemaría said in a homily, “I venerate with all my strength the Rome of Peter and Paul, bathed in the blood of martyrs, the centre from which so many have set out to propagate throughout the world the saving word of Christ. To be Roman does not entail any manifestation of provincialism, but authentic ecumenism. It presupposes the desire to enlarge the heart, to open it to all men with the redemptive zeal of Christ, who seeks all men and takes in all men, for he has loved all men first.” Tags: Places in Rome, Early Christians, Ordinary life

The Via Appia

Places in Rome (9)

On July 3, 1946, at half past eight in the evening, St Josemaría took a walk on the Appian Way for a few moments of rest. Tags: Places in Rome, Early Christians

The memory of St Paul

Places in Rome (10)

St Josemaría encouraged us to follow St Paul’s example and help others to turn to God. “If we pray and meditate on these words of St Paul, we will realise that we have no alternative but to work, in the service of all souls". Tags: Places in Rome, Early Christians, Proselytism

Little shrines to Our Lady

Places in Rome (11)

When St Josemaría arrived in Rome in 1946 he was delighted to see how many pictures and statues of Our Lady are to be found in the streets there. He often used to ask other people in Opus Dei whether they had seen them, and encouraged them to discover more, and to say a few loving words to Our Lady whenever they saw one of these little shrines. Tags: Places in Rome, Our Lady


During his journeys through Europe St Josemaria often stopped at Einsiedeln. As soon as he caught sight of the towers of the shrine from the car, he said a Salve straight away. As Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, who went with him on these visits, later recalled, “He only went to pray to our Lady. He would stop the night in Lucerne, and go on from there to Einsiedeln, where he often celebrated Mass." Tags: Our Lady