Tag Archives: Italy

The Synod – Conclusion

Written by Rick Squier, UCAP student

     Our visit to the Synod was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness how the church is attempting to reunite culture and doctrine. Reading the interviews of Cardinals and Bishops online, and then actually meeting some of them, and talking to them about their words was surreal. In addition to the prelates of the synod, Father and I were also introduced to authors, reporters, and theologians who are significant leaders in Catholic circles. All of the people we met, whether their position is to report for the church, or elect the successor of Peter, they were very gracious with their time and words.


     As we heard varying points of view on how the church will recognize different relationships, it gives hope that there is an openness to those the various situations. Some bishops called for minimal change, while others were suggesting a significant shift from the way we recognize familial situations. Even though there isn’t consistency amongst all bishops, the fact that this Synod was formed to address issues of inclusion, shows that there is a genuine attempt to grow the church. This process gives hope for the future of the church and how it recognizes the message of Christ.

     Our Synod experience was only possible because of Bishop Murry’s invitation to spend time with him in the second week of the Synod. From unfettered access to areas of the St. Peter’s Basilica, and Vatican, to introductions to high-level decision makers of the church, this experience was only possible because of the bisjop of Youngstown . The entire experience was humbling as this Director of Faith Formation from a parish in Ohio, had the opportunity to meet leaders of the Catholic Church from around the world. Who knows what God has in store for us?

Synod on the Family, Part 2

By Rick Squier

Bishop Murry said that the Pope has been at all of the general sessions of the Synod, and was surprised in how approachable he is. He said the Pope attends the mid-session coffee breaks the same as everybody else. Bishop Murry said that several times he would be having coffee, look up, and there was the Pope wandering through the room. The image is one that the Bishop happily shared with us.

Bishop Murray and Pope Francis

Wednesday was certainly memorable. Father and I met Bishop Murry in the morning and got a private tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. It is an incredible place to wander through when it’s empty. We then celebrated Mass in the Clementine Chapel in the Necropolis, below the Basilica. The Clementine Chapel is the closest chapel to the burial chamber of St. Peter. The holiness of the space gave the prayers for our parish families a deeper emotional effect for me.

The Clementine Chapel

During a break at the Synod, Bishop Murry gave Father and I a tour of the North American Pontifical College. From the roof of the facility, we saw what must be the best view of Rome.
I can’t imagine having a better tour guide of any of the locations we visited.

Please pray for the Synod Fathers, and the direction they take the church

Sneak peek >> Summer 2014 Issue


#COMINGSOON In the Summer 2014 issue of VOICES Magazine, find a beautiful photo essay from a recent alumnae trip to Italy by Director of Alumnae Relations Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer ’03.


UC Tour of Italy: Assisi

A wonderful day is Assisi was had by the group. Here are some photos from the day, Chapel of Saint Francis, Mary of the Angels Chapel and Deruta ceramics.








UC Tour of Italy: Onto Orvieto

Day One: Orvieto was about a 2 hour delightful drive from Rome. The weather was perfect and the town is perched on a hill like a fortress. The medieval town is full of charm. When we arrived, we quickly checked in and went for a quick walk to see the cathedral as the sun was setting. It is the perfect time to see it, the sun shines directly on the face of the building with the beautiful stone, frescos and gold trims.

We then headed to Zeppelin where we met Chef Lorenzo who taught us all how to make pasta and eat the Etruscan way. The 6 course meal was delicious and I think we all rolled back to the hotel.

Day Two: Chef Lorenzo and my husband had a wonderful time during dinner and we were invited to his farm. We did not see the inside of the cathedral with the tour (everyone said it was beautiful and Sunday mass was truly special), but we headed out with Lorenzo to his farm to see how he cultivates grapes for wine & olives. He also put us to work – we planted 6 bay leaf trees with him. It was an experience we will never forget.

We met back with the group to see the caves under Orvieto. Each home had a cave for a particular use, whether it be for water, olive oil or safety during World War II. There are over 1,000 caves under the city and they believe more are to be found.

We headed out for dinner where we soon realized that this small medieval village comes alive at night, even Sunday night. The streets were busy with travelers, locals and lots of families.

Off to Assisi tomorrow!



UC Tour of Italy: Final Day in Rome!






During our final full day in Rome, we saw Vatican City – and it truly is a city. The size is quite amazing with beautiful artifacts everywhere you look. In the photos you will see St. Peter’s Basilica & Square, the museum ceilings & the Pope’s room. The day started at 8 am and it took us 4 hours to see it all!

Off to Orvieto tomorrow.


UC Tour of Italy: Day 2 of Rome





We woke up early and set out for a full day in Rome. We soon arrived at the Coliseum where we went inside to see the spectacular structure and learn about its history. From the Coliseum we went over to the excavation site, where students were excavating areas of old ruins to see what they might find below the earth. It was very interesting to watch and think about the items they might discover. We were able to see Arco di Tito, Palatino, Arco di Costantino and many other sites. When we left the Coliseum area we headed over to Piazza Navona & Pantheon. The Pantheon was enormous and almost overwhelming in size when you stood in the center.

Lunch was beckoning; we enjoyed pasta, bruschetta, pizza and tirimasu. With full bellies we headed back to the hotel for a rest before being briefed on tomorrow’s adventure. The Vatican Museum is tomorrow and all of us are excited – even those that have seen it before. Since lunch was so perfecto, I think gelato will be on the menu for dinner! Ciao, ciao!!!


UC Tour of Italy: First Day in Rome

Even though it was our first day in Rome, Enrica had us moving all over the city – seeing as much as we could before collapsing into the Empire Palace Hotel rooms for the night. The hotel, once a palace, is now a beautiful hotel located inside old Rome. We saw the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and for the fashion students & alumnae, Valentino’s altiere. In the photos you will see the Trevi Fountain and Valentino’s mini Palace. You will see the V over the door and in the far left hand side of the photo in a window, a mannequin. As a fashion graduate, it was fun to see and I really hoped he would step outside to take a walk, but I guess I wasn’t lucky enough.

Rome was full of life and full of travelers last night, much busier than the Amalfi. Off to the Coliseum tomorrow!





Amalfi Coast, Day 1 of UC Tour of Italy

As we touched down in Naples, everyone was exhausted from our long trip, but excited about the journey ahead. Everyone’s luggage made the long way and our next task was to find Enrica, our Odysseys Unlimited tour director. I can say we were all really happy to see her smiling face welcoming us. We boarded the bus and started on the next leg of the trip, an hour and half drive up the Amalfi Coast to our hotel. Well, to say the drive was not nerve wracking would be an undersatement, it was an on the edge of your seat kind of drive. The views were spectacular and our driver Domico was magnifico!

We all settled into the hotel and took in the sites, rooms overlooking the coast. We all met for dinner and took our first full group picture. Tomorrow off to Pompei, we can’t wait.

-Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer’03, Director of Alumnae Relations and Development Specialist



And we are off…

The Tour of Italy trip for alumnae, students and friends of the College has begun. All 23 of us left from Cleveland at 12:30 PM with a flight to NJ. Now onto the long flight to Munich, Germany and then Naples, Italy. This group is truly excited for the wonderful trip in front of us. I have even been asked when’s the next trip and where to.


– Tiffany Mushrush Mentzer ’03, Director of Alumnae Relations & Development Specialist