• Mass Times

• Coming Events

• Sacraments

• Ministries

• Parish Staff

• Consultative Bodies

• Photo Gallery

• Virtual Tour

• History

• Contribute


• Bulletin

• In Your Midst

• Pastor's Desk


• Becoming Catholic

• Bookstore

• Faith Formation

• Funerals

• Immigrant Assistance

• Liturgy

• Mental Health

• Music

• Outreach/Advocacy

• Pastoral Care

• Weddings

• Young Adults

• Youth Ministry




March 7, Wednesday

Papal Audience | Papal Basilicas of Rome | Farewell Dinner

Wednesday morning began with the General Audience with Pope Francis!

Our pilgrims (in red scarves) lined up with thousands of others to enter the Paul VI Audience Hall.

Linda celebrated her birthday in very good company!

Jubilate singers are excited to greet the Pope!

Amazing--Pope Francis stopped to kiss our youngest pilgrim!

And to shake hands with 12 year old Jonah!

In the afternoon was our farewell Mass of the pilgrimage, at St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Click here to read Father Ryan's homily for the closing Mass of the pilgrimage.

And after Mass, our farewell banquet, at a restaurant outside the city walls. An Italian trio provided fun music.

A last bowl of pasta!

Arrividerci, Roma!


Where we'll pray: St. Paul Outside the Walls

The Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls has been through many changes over the centuries.  According to tradition, the first church was built over Paul's tomb by Pope Sylvester I in the year 324.  This small building was enlarged between 384 and 386, and took the form of a grand Roman basilica, with five naves, 80 columns, and a four-sided portico.  Over the centuries, the building was substantially altered and adapted, with major renovations in the 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 16th, and 18th centuries!  

Then, on the night of 15-6 July, 1823, the great basilica was almost destroyed by fire.  Pope Leo XII called on all the bishops in the world to support the rebuilding effort, which began almost immediately and continued into the twentieth century.  The architects and artists of the time attempted to restore the building to something resembling the "original" Constantinian basilica.  While what we see today is largely a 19th-century building, it has been called "a vivid example of reconstructed authenticity," and of all the major basilicas in Rome (the others are St. Peter's, St. Mary Major, and St. John Lateran) St. Paul outside the Walls most resembles the kind of church the Christians of the 4th-10th centuries would have experienced.  

A dramatic image of St. Paul by Giuseppe Obici (1817-1878) confronts us, his gaze bent on all who enter the basilica.  The vividly-colored mosaics on the upper part of the façade depict four prophets-Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.  Above them we see an image of Jesus as the Lamb of God.  From where the Lamb is seated four rivers flow-symbolizing the four Gospels-and twelve lambs drink from these streams, representing the twelve Apostles.  On the pediment above, we see Christ in majesty, his hand raised in blessing, flanked by Saints Peter and Paul.  These beautiful mosaics date from the 19th-century, and are based on mosaics placed here in the 10th-century.


The nave of the Basilica is vast and impressive, lined on each side with twenty granite columns. Above the columns, both in the aisles and in the central nave, are medallions depicting all the Popes, from Saint Peter to Pope Francis.  These mosaic portraits were begun by Pope Pius IX in 1847.  Each portrait is distinct, and together they form a powerful reminder of the unbroken tradition of faith, reaching back to the apostles.    Recent excavations have confirmed the presence of the saint's tomb, part of an extensive cemetery from ancient Roman times, beneath the high altar.  Here, pilgrims can venerate the relics of St. Paul, as well as the chains with which he was bound while a prisoner in Rome.    

Above the altar and the tomb rises a magnificent canopy.  It is the work of Arnolfo di Cambio, and dates from 1282 (it suffered minimal damage in the 1823 fire).  The porphyry columns support a graceful Gothic canopy, decorated with statues of various saints, including Saint Paul, and the donor, Abbot Bartholomew, head of the ancient Benedictine monastery which adjoins the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls (Benedictine monks work and pray at the Basilica to this day).    

Near the altar is the ancient Paschal candle stand, which dates from the twelfth century, and which depicts scenes from the Easter liturgy and the Passion of Christ in wonderfully detailed carving.     The apse mosaics date from the 13th-century, and though severely damaged by fire, were carefully restored in 1836.  They feature traditional iconography of Christ, enthroned in glory, flanked by Peter and Andrew on one side, and Paul and Luke on the other.    

The crucifix is much older, dating from the 1300's.  It is said that as St. Bridget knelt here in prayer, Christ turned his head to look at her.

Pope Francis at the Tomb of St. Paul

Unity is the gift of mercy from God the Father. Here before the tomb of St. Paul, apostle and martyr, kept here in this splendid Basilica, we sense that our humble prayer is supported by the intercession of the multitudes of Christian martyrs, past and present. They  responded generously to the Lord's call, they gave faithful witness by their lives to the wonderful works that God has done for us, and they already enjoy full communion in the presence of God the Father. Sustained by their example - the example offered by the ecumenism of blood - and comforted by their intercession, let us make our humble prayer to God.

Pope Francis, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 2016  

Travel tips
Some tips in preparation for the journey...

Thank you.  Grazie.
Thank you very much.  Grazie tante.
You're welcome.  Prego.
Please.  Per favore.
Yes., No.  Sì, No
Excuse me/Pardon me.  Mi scusi.
I'm sorry.  Mi dispiace.
I don't understand.  Non capisco.
I don't speak Italian.  Non parlo italiano.
Do you speak English?  Parla inglese?
Speak slowly, please.  Parli piano, per favore.
Repeat, please.  Ripeta, per favore.
Download a handy two-page phrase list courtesy of chorister Nick Minotti by clicking here.

The attire for this pilgrimage is casual. Choir members should be robed or dressed uniformly for all performances. Pilgrims should be dressed appropriately for masses, although sports jackets and skirts/dresses and head coverings are not required. However, it is mandatory that knees and shoulders be covered when visiting churches or you can be denied entry. This applies to both men and women. Comfort should be a priority. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.    


Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303