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April 23: All roads lead to Rome
— busy beyond telling

April 24: All roads
lead to Rome
— Il Papa viene

April 25: All roads
lead to Rome
— everybody's here

April 26: All roads
lead to Rome
— a Costarrican celebration

April 27: All roads
lead to Rome
— rejoicing with the saints!


Father Castillo arrives in Rome.
Father Mauricio Granados/Courtesy photo

Rev. Alexander Q. Castillo

April 23, 2014
All roads lead to Rome
— busy beyond telling

Something is going on here. Everybody can tell. Yes, Rome is a pretty busy city all year round, but this week has been just beyond telling.

Something is happening in the airports all over Europe … and also in the train and bus stations … it seems that, as never before, all roads lead to Rome this week.

Hotel rooms were totally booked months ago. I booked mine in October last year, and I was lucky in getting a space at the Collegio Pio Latinoamericano, where priests from all over Latin America stay during their studies in Rome.

Thousands and thousands of people are here for the canonization of the two Popes. This morning (April 23), at least 5,000 were in line to get into Saint Peter Basilica, and I never saw the line getting smaller. Every single place is just crowded: the piazzas, the basilicas, restaurants, buses.

But the most beautiful thing is that you can feel the joy in the air: pilgrims from all over the world, young people, families and of course priests, religious brothers and sisters: we are all here, rejoicing: the young under the influence of John Paul II, but also to those a little bit older, who also remember il Papa Buono, John XXIII.

It is just amazing to see how the testimony of these two great heroes of our faith has brought the whole world here, and this is really a catholic (universal) experience. After all, all roads have led us to Rome.

(Father Castillo is secretary of the bishop and episcopal master of ceremonies for the Diocese of Oakland. He is in Rome for the canonizations of the two popes.)

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