The group has just arrived at the Catacombs of San Callisto for a tour of this ancient Christian burial ground. Here are the pilgrims waiting outside for their tour to begin. Mass will follow the tour.
The pilgrims have just visited the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Cathedral Church of Rome. As the seat of the Pope it is the mother church of the Diocese of Rome and of the world. Lunch is next, followed by a visit to the Catacombs for a tour and Mass.
After a free day our Cathedral pilgrims are now returning to the hotel, ready for the evening meal. Those in the group who have visited the hotel's roof terrace can see the view pictured here. Unfortunately this image isn't very good quality, but you can make out the world famous Colosseum in the top left corner. Don't forget that you can enlarge any image on the blog by clicking on it, and we will post some higher quality images after the pilgrimage.
Today our pilgrims have a free day. A number are visiting the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, and no doubt everyone has a place or two they would like to visit. The day started early with Mass in the crypt of St Peter's; here you can see the group walking towards the Basilica first thing this morning.
Before returning to the hotel our pilgrims called in at the church of the Holy Cross, where there are relics of the Passion, brought to Rome by St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine. The relics have been a focus for devotion since that time, and the group said prayers together in the relics chapel. A free evening is ahead, followed by an early Mass at St Peter's Basilica tomorrow morning.
After a wonderful day trip to Subiaco the pilgrims are now heading back to Rome. Back in the city there will be a chance to visit the Basilica of the Holy Cross, which contains relics of the Passion. A free evening will follow. The picture here shows members of the group looking out to the hills around Subiaco; as always, you can click on the image for a larger version.
Our Cathedral pilgrims have just been to Mass after a tour of the wonderful monastery in the hills above Subiaco. Here they visited the cave where St Benedict lived and seen many ancient wall paintings. Next it's back into Subiaco for lunch.
Here the group is boarding the coach for a day trip to Subiaco, where St Benedict lived. The day will include a tour of the monastery there and the celebration of Mass. We're not sure how well our mobile technology will work in this more remote area, so if there are no posts for a while you know why. Either way, there will be posts at some point later today.
This evening the group had Mass in a chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore - St Mary Major - which is one of the four major basilicas of Rome. There was also a brief visit to the church of Santa Prassede, famous for its mosaics, and the church of St Peter in Chains. Tomorrow there's a day trip to Subiaco, where St Benedict founded his first monastic community.
After the excitement of this morning's Papal Audience, the group had some free time. Canon Stephen and Fr Andrew went to visit two familiar faces at the North American College (NAC): Deacon Nolan Lowry and his fellow student Bill Brunner. Both Nolan and Bill have spent time on placement at the Cathedral. Here they are on the roof of the NAC, with a fine view of St Peter's behind.
The Audience has now finished and the Pope is greeting some of those present. Here some members of the group look out over the square, which is still packed as people wait to see the Holy Father leave. The Popemobile has just arrived, ready for the return journey!
A few moments ago Pope Benedict offered greetings to all the English speaking pilgrims present at the audience. As the Cathedral parish was amounced he looked towards the group and gave a wave. This is the view the pilgrims are seeing; the Pope is just a short distance away. As always, you can click on the image for a larger version. In a few moments the Holy Father will give a blessing, which he extends to family and friends at home.
The square is filling up, as it does every Wednesday. People are here from all parts of the world. Many have brought banners and flags, and groups are singing. Among those here today is Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. The Cardinal is well known to us in Lancaster, having visited the Cathedral twice in the last two years. 35 minutes to go until the Pope arrives!
The pilgrims have passed through all the security checks and have taken their seats ready for the audience. There's now quite a wait before the Pope arrives. You can watch the audience live on EWTN - Sky channel 589 or ewtn.com. Keep your ears open as the Cathedral group should be mentioned at some point. Keep your eyes open too - the group is sat right in front of the Basilica over to the right hand side.
The main chapel of the English College has been undergoing a two-year restoration programme and reopened earlier this month. The result is stunning, and we plan to post some high quality images on return to England. Meanwhile here is a view looking down on the altar. Here Canon Stephen, who trained at this college, celebrated a Votive Mass of the college's martyrs earlier this afternoon. This evening some members of the group will visit the Trevi Fountain, and tomorrow morning we're off to see the Pope. Check the blog from 9.3Oam English time.
Our pilgrims are currently taking a look around the Venerable English College, the oldest British institution abroad. Founded in 1579, it continues to train priests for the English and Welsh dioceses. Our guide is Tony, a student for the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
This is the scene now in St Peter's Square. The group had an excellent tour of the Basilica this morning, followed by a chance to visit the crypt, where many of the Popes are buried. This afternoon there will be Mass in the English College, followed by a tour.
This evening the first Mass of the pilgrimage was celebrated in the church of Sts John and Paul, pictured. It took place in a side chapel which contains the body of St Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionist order. It's been a long day and a quiet evening is ahead. Tomorrow brings a trip to the Vatican and Mass at the English College. Keep up to date on the blog as the trip progresses. In the meantime, don't forget that you can enlarge the pictures by clicking on the image.
The group has just had a tour of San Clemente, one of Rome's most important churches. It dates from the 12th century, but is built over the remains of a 4th century church and - beneath that - a temple of Mithras from the 1st century BC. Next the group will celebrate Mass in a nearby church.
If you're reading this then our technology is working! Over the next few days we plan to provide several short posts each day giving updates from Rome. Our plane landed just before 1O:3Oam and the group is now heading for the hotel. More to follow later in the day.