Time for the most important part of our trip! This temple dedication was historic in that it was the first time all 12 modern-day apostles had ever gathered at one time outside of Salt Lake City. President Nelson met with the Catholic Pope over the weekend and many apostles were seen throughout city at various historical sites as well. We kept crossing our fingers hoping that we’d run into one during our stay, but we never did.
We had tickets to the afternoon session on Saturday so we made our way back to the temple (its about 6 miles outside of the city center). It was a cold and rainy day, so we had the kids wait inside the visitor’s center, across from the temple. Brian and I were able to go inside and find our seats and wait for the session (the second of 7 sessions) to begin.
These pictures were taken after the session ended. I’m so glad we had time to walk the grounds, especially after hearing a little of the significance of this location and this building. There was a beautiful fountain that ran directly from the doors of the temple to the visitor’s center. From the temple, you can look up and see the glass windows of the center and the Christus statue as well as the statues of the original 12 Apostles in stunning arrangement. The structure of the temple itself is gorgeous too- it felt so surreal to be here with our girls on this special occasion. They were a little sad that they weren’t able to attend the dedication though. Brian and I had never been to a dedication and didn’t realize that all kids 8 years and older could come in as well, so we only applied for two tickets. I felt so badly that they didn’t have the chance to go inside too and now we are going to make sure we figure out how to get us all in the next chance we get to attend a dedication.
We sure love these girls and feel so grateful for the knowledge that we get to spend eternity with our little family and all of those we love so much because of the work done in temples all over the world. So so grateful.
I had the girls touch the walls with their own hands before we left. I hope they can feel the significance of the temple and desire to go inside one day for themselves.
The interior of the Rome temple is beyond stunning. The artwork alone took our breath away- it was different than any artwork we’d seen in other temples we’ve been to and we tried to get a glance at as much as we could as we were shown to our seats. I hope we can come back here one day and get a much better look at everything. Brian and I were seated in the Telestial room where there were gorgeous murals of the rocky Italian coasts covering the walls. Right before our session began, President Nelson, Elder Holland, Elder Ballard and Elder Renlund as well as their amazing wives came in to our room to say hello. It was such a kind gesture and meant so much to see them in person.
Each of the 3 Apostles there gave short talks before the Prophet spoke his dedicatory prayer over the temple. Their words were humble and powerful. Elder Renlund’s talk really spoke to Brian and I so I thought I would include a few points that I remember here. He relayed a story when his wife had cancer during the earlier years of their marriage. They had one small child at this point but the cancer had erased their dreams of having any more. They were both devastated and to make matters much worse, Sister Renlund’s prospects of surviving were rather slim. Elder Renlund said his prayers for her felt like they weren’t getting past the ceiling of the hospital and he was feeling very defeated. They were getting ready for their evening prayers at home and she was lying in bed, unable to even kneel down. Elder Renlund had asked her to offer the prayer so she began by giving thanks for the blessing of their family being sealed for eternity, no matter what the unpredictable future may hold. Elder Renlund, in that moment, felt relief and gratitude wash over him and from then on he felt healed and his prayers ascended higher than before. He quoted parts of Ezekiel 47 and the fountain of water that Ezekiel was shown flowing from the temple and how in its path, everything that it touched was healed. The prayer Sister Renlund offered had referenced the sealing ordinance performed in a temple and it had healed Elder Renlund’s feelings towards their difficult trial. In the same way that the waters of the temple had healed them, he promised that anyone who attended the temple would experience the same in their own lives and specific trials. Interestingly, there is an actual fountain coming from the Rome temple that was meant to mirror this vision in Ezekiel and I loved seeing it through new eyes after the dedication.
The Christus and 12 Apostle statues were gorgeous and so were the murals on the walls behind them. Wow. I could have stared at them all day long.
Below is the cross-section of the interior of the Rome temple- so cool to see all of it right here in miniature.
We also took a few moments to walk on the grounds surrounding the temple. The greenery and gardens are always top-notch and we tried our best to soak it in. The side view of the temple it so beautiful too- it has a different look than the front and is really just so beautiful.
Love this picture for a lot of reasons. My girls have been witness to a spectacular array of religious devotion in the past 6 months. I love that Tel Aviv has allowed them to see the Jewish and Muslim side and even the Christian perspective on so many occasions, but Rome is also full of the same devotion as it is commonplace to see nuns and/or priests walking the streets all over. The peace seen on this nun’s face is comforting and helps you realize the fulfillment one can feel when you center your life on Christ. I really admire those who literally devote their entire lives to serving Him and bringing the gospel to those who need it.
The Pantheon is definitely one of the most spectacular sights in Rome. Ahh. The massive scale of this structure with its oculus is incredible, especially when you consider its construction in 126 AD!
The Trevi Fountain on a sunny day…gorgeous.
We made our way to the market at Campo de’ Fiori where we grabbed a couple of souvenirs as well as some much-needed lunch. There are not many things I love more than a local outdoor market.
These two best friends are the best. I love watching them love on each other.
We met the Daltons at the Il Vittoriano on Saturday evening. It was so fun to see them again and have our kids get to know each other. We were so impressed with their sweet kiddos and loved how much fun all of the pre-teens/teenagers had hanging out for a few hours. We let them all hang out at our airbnb while the parents and their oldest son grabbed dinner nearby.
We left for Tel Aviv early Monday morning. I have to say we were so sad to leave this amazing city but so grateful for the memories and new experiences we had here.