The intrepid three return home

This is the photo we've all been waiting for - the intrepid three with their bikes at St Peter's. They cycled 1320.52 miles to get there - except Greg who had to cut a bit of the cycling out on account of an inconsiderate lamp post somewhere near Piacenza which had the bad manners to leap out and knock him off his bike. He did have the consolation of a brief stay with the Franciscans of the Immaculate in Florence. I'm proud to hear that they asked him to serve Low Mass which he of course can do without any problem. He admitted to me that because he did not have a cassock in the pannier, nor a Franciscan habit, nor black shoes, he had to serve in a cream coloured alb and trainers. Unfortunately, we haven't got a picture to show the MC.

There are many more pictures Pictures from Rome over at the Via Romea blog but I put this next one in just to stir Swiss Guard fan Carolina Cannonball to undying enmity of Anna Marie who got to chat to them:

The trio have had written about their awards ceremony in Rome which is a fun read. Just a few examples:
  • Worst bit of kit: The empty 300 ml single cream pot we carried the entire way. Or the phrasebook.
  • Most Frustrating Continental Habit: The Siesta. Please, it's lunchtime. Someone sell some food...
  • Epic Language Fail Award: When Anna stood on an Italian's foot and said 'Prego'.
  • Via Romea Gold Star Award: Electrical tape. You could build a bike from it we think... we nearly did.
After generously giving out these prizes, they add:
The award winners would like to thank their family, friends, sponsors, pets and paniers. They also want world peace.
This morning I had the great joy of seeing them safely back again. Apparently they consumed most of the spare sandwiches that British Airways had available and since they were travelling light, their bicycles did not put them over the luggage allowance.

It is perhaps one of the more consoling moments that there could be in a priest's life when three such young people after a journey like that turn up for weekday Mass the morning after their late night arrival home. Greg did have a cassock and cotta to serve. And black shoes. After Mass, I asked for a photo at the Lady Chapel:

Then one in rather better light outside:

The t-shirts donned hurriedly are designed by the indefatigable Brenda Walsh to promote the visit of Pope Benedict to Britain in September. A friend of hers showed me one yesterday so I ordered a dozen and gave away the first three this morning. Here is the front:

And here is the back:

Congratulations to Anna Marie, Joseph and Gregory. Go over and enjoy the Via Romea blog. And don't forget to make a donation in thanksgiving at the Fundraising Page - charities are Mary's Meals and the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative.

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