A Taste of Italy Art Exhibit

Roxy Poster


My Exhibit includes photos while on my first “Chasing Francis” Spirit Venture in 2012 with photos from Assisi, Rome and Florence. It is at the RoxyAnn Winery in Medford, Oregon.  Come on by for a glass of Cabernet Franc:)

If you are interested in joining us we will be going again next spring during the last couple of weeks in March.   Pax et Bonum

The Pantheon of Rome

While in Rome I visited the Pantheon.  I was really impressed by it.  When you consider its size, age, and structure it truly is an engineering marvel.  For starters I expected it to be out more in the open like the Colosseum for all the world to see, but instead it is sandwiched into a neighborhood.

As you are walking through the narrow streets of Rome and enter the Piazza della Rotunda, the Pantheon suddenly looms before your eyes … a huge monument of architectural triumph … having survived the test of time.  It is likely the best preserved of all the buildings of ancient Rome.

It was oringinally built in 27 B.C. as a temple to all (pan) gods.  It was damaged later by a couple of fires and was rebuilt by the emperor  Hadrian circa A.D. 120 and is perhaps the most influential building in art history.

The ancient portico columns are an impressive 40 feet high and are made of single pieces of red-gray granite taken from an Egyptian temple.  The holes in the triangular pediment once held a huge bronze Roman Eagle.

The porch ceiling was originally covered in bronze plating, but this was removed in the 17th century by the scavenging pope from the Barberini family.

The dome was the largest made until the Renaissance and is a testament to Roman engineering.  It became a model for the Florence cathedral, Michelangelo’s dome of the St. Peter’s, and even Washington D.C.’s capitol building.

The dome is set on a circular base and is as high (142 feet from the floor tho the rooftop) as it is wide.  It is made from concrete which was a Roman invention.  It gets lighter and thinner as it reaches the top.  The base is 23 feet thick and made from a heavier concrete mixed with travertine, but the top is less than five feet thick and is mixed with lighter volcanic rock.  The indentions or ‘coffered’ ceiling reduces the weight of the dome without losing strength.  The oculus, or eye-in-the-sky, is the only light source and measures nearly 30 feet across.  The floor is 1800 years old.  It has holes and slants toward the edges to let the rainwater drain off.    (Notes taken from Rick Steve’s excellent travel book on Rome)

The Pantheon survived the Dark Ages primarily due to being transformed into a church.  Centuries after Hadrian finished the rebuilding project the Roman Empire had been nearly completely evangelized and Emperor Phocas gave it to the church.  Then in the year 609  Pope Boniface IV transformed it into the church of Sancta Maria ad Martyres.  From that time on it has become a great reliquary, because the Pope wished it to be the final resting-place of the mortal remains of thousands of Christians, many of them martyrs, which until then had been buried in the Catacombs.

It was almost at the dawn of the Middle Ages that the dedication of the former Pantheon to the Christian Martyrs showed how deeply indebted the Church felt to those who had borne witness to Christ to the extreme of giving their lives for their faith.  Tarcisius, Agnes, Cecillia, Perpetua, and Polycarp are examples of Christian faith in Christ being stronger than all the legions of Rome.  “They had triumphed, like their Master, in the madness of the Cross, and so merited to be hymned and venerated down the centuries.”   (Notes from Opus Dei)

Chasing Francis

“Chasing Francis is written in a genre called wisdom literature, which is a very delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching.” Ian Morgan Cron wrote this very witty and engaging novel apparently after much research and gives credit to many authors whose writings or ideas influenced passages in his book.  There is a study guide at the end of the book to help us get the most from his book and he encourages us to get on line at www.chasingfrancis.com to learn more about Saint Francis.

“Chasing Francis is not a history or a spirituality book, though it contains elements of both.  It is a novel that touches a little something in the inner troubles of most of us who try to follow Jesus faithfully in a modern western environment.  Delightful!”

JOHN  MICHAEL  TALBOT, founder, spiritual father, and general minister, The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage

“By guiding us to wrestle deeply with a crisis of faith experience and by re-introducing us to a giant of faith, Ian Cron paves for us a path of grace, humility, and ultimate joy even through our “ground zero” darkness.  This is a life-changing work.  I now find myself “chasing Francis” in my life as well as in my art.”

MAKOTO  FUJIMURA, artist/writer, New York City

Having read Chasing Francis myself, I too feel that Ian touched on something that has been tugging on my heart.  There is a part of me that feels I have not been truly satisfying my thirst for God.  I desire to somehow make more of an impact in “my world” for my Jesus who gave his all for me.   Does “my world” see me as being different in any positive way or am I so much like the world that I am not making an impact?  How many of you upon introspection feel the same?

Introduction to Franciscus Meus


“For I know the plans I have for you,”  declares the LORD

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.”

   Jeremiah 29:11

 Welcome to  Franciscus Meus.

I did not really have any big plans for traveling this year.  But I believe God has opened a door that I cannot ignore.  A couple of weeks ago an incredible opportunity presented itself.  I met David Rapp of Water’s Edge Community Church and Discovery Venture Tours.   He has arranged a debut  Spirit Venture or ‘pilgrimage tour’ to Italy “CHASING FRANCIS:   Assisi, Rome, and more.”

David has been taking groups of youngsters and adults all over the world for many years.  He  designed this tour after the current popular novel, “Chasing Francis” by Ian Morgan Cron.

The package consists of 7 nights in Assisi and 3 in Rome and will include tours, excursions, historic pilgrimage sites, prayer, Eucharist celebrations, engaging discussions over great Italian food and wine, and as you can well imagine there will be nonstop great photo opportunities.

This is an invitation for you to join us and hop on this Spirit Venture to Italy from April 11th through the 21st.  We need more pilgrims.  There are still a few openings.  Unfortunately this is very short notice.  You only have 9 days to sign up.  David is hoping for a group of no more than 20.  Go to www.discoveryventuretours.com  and get all the information and the itinerary.

My blog on Chasing Francis is entitled Franciscus Meus, “My Francis,” and will include thoughts on Ian Cron’s book and interesting facts about Francis and eventually photos from the tour.  Come ‘pilgrim’ with me. Click here to read all my Franciscus Meus posts.