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Rome 2013

The Religious Studies Department is pleased to announce that we have organised a four day trip to Rome next year.  We have also secured a great price for the trip, so we hope that all our Year 12 and 13 students will take advantage of this opportunity to visit one of the world’s most ancient and most beautiful cities, steeped in Christian worship from the 1st century AD to the present day.

The cost of the trip is £443. This price includes return transfers both in the UK and in Rome, flights, accommodation and breakfast in a 3 star city hotel, travel insurance and 24 emergency contact. Whilst in Rome we will be visiting the Catacombs, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and lots of other tourist attractions for which no booking is necessary, the cost for these trips is also included in the overall cost. Please note that evening meals are not included, these should cost no more than £10 per night.

We will be departing on Tuesday, 19th February and returning on Friday, 22nd February, 2013.  These dates are during half-term, so students’ lessons will not be affected by the visit.  The weather in Rome for the season is not cold and mainly dry with sunny periods, so much better than the UK!  (Indeed, February is when Rome holds its carnival, the Carnevale Romano.) 

This is an excellent opportunity and price for what we have planned. Payments can be made by instalments, which amounts to approximately £19 a week.  We would encourage reply slips to be returned promptly as there are only 20 places available, so please complete and return the reply slip below along with a £60 deposit by Friday 21st September, 2012 if you wish for your son/daughter to attend. Should the number of deposits exceed the number of places for either date, the first 20 deposits received will obtain a place, and the others will be placed on a reserve list.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact Mr Seppala Head of Religious Studies

Religious Studies Trip to Rome – Useful Information

An important question to answer is “what impact will this visit have upon the learning of the students?”

Firstly generally, the Vatican City, (built over the tomb of Simon Peter, one of Jesus’s twelve disciples who was martyred in Rome in about the year 60 AD,) in Rome is the headquarters of the largest religious group in the world, the Roman Catholic Church which has about 1billion members and continues to grow.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Pope is one of the most powerful people in the world, who can count on the loyalty of people as diverse as the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego and the Inuit of northern Canada; the Coptic Catholics of Egypt and the Roman Catholics of Japan; the Maori of New Zealand and the people of the Philippines.  It was Pope Clement who launched one of the most far reaching conflicts of the last millennium, the Crusades.

Secondly, the AS-level curriculum: it is in Rome that the Roman Catholic Church validates or denies a miraculous event, such as the stigmata of Padre Pio.  Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta, bringing her one step closer to sainthood. To be beatified, in most cases, a person must have performed a miracle from beyond the grave; on October 1st, the Vatican certified that Teresa, who died in 1997, had miraculously cured one woman's cancerous tumor sometime in 1998.  When reviewing such cures, it is the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican office, that oversees sainthood applications.  It was in Rome that Galileo Galilei was put on trial for, and found guilty of, heresy for promoting his observational evidence that the Earth orbits the Sun, and not the other way round.  It is from here that scientists in the service of the Church are appointed to continue their observational work into the fine-tuning of the Universe, which is used to support the premise that the Universe is not a chance happening, but designed for the purpose of allowing the evolution of intelligent life such as human beings.

Thirdly, where the A2 curriculum is concerned, it is in the Vatican that the Church verifies and validates the religious experiences of saints as diverse as Joan of Arc, (who saw a vision of the Archangel Michael telling her to ensure the Dauphin succeeded to the throne of France,) and Teresa of Avila.  As someone who had mystical religious experiences, she wrote of the "devotion of ecstasy or rapture," a passive state, in which the consciousness of being in the body disappears. Whilst visiting the sites in Rome, students will be able to better understand Rudolph’s Otto’s work on religious experience, where he writes of “the fixed and ordered solemnities of rites and liturgies, the atmosphere that clings to old religious monuments and buildings, to temples and to churches,” where experiences “come sweeping like a gentle tide, pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepest worship,”  awfulness (inspiring awe, a sort of profound unease) overpoweringness (that which, among other things, inspires a feeling of humility) the element of fascination, which causes the subject of the experience of the numinous to be caught up in it, to be enraptured.  These can be referred to in essays in class and in the final examination.  We will visit the tomb of Saul, or Paul, of Tarsus who converted from Judaism to Christianity on the road to Damascus, and was later martyred in Rome, possibly at the same time as Simon Peter.  It was Paul who spread Christianity to the non-Jewish Roman world and, more than any other, oversaw its expansion.