Below you'll find a selection of my published stories and interviews, including my award-winning piece on the Swiss Guards’ Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes for the National Catholic Register.
Love travel pray! Joanne
As published by ROMA The Eternal City, Summer 2019. Photos by Valentina Stefanelli.
In January 1506, the first Swiss Guards entered Vatican City to receive the blessing of Pope Julius II and begin their tenure as the Pope’s Guard and “Defenders of the Church’s freedom”, a tradition which has endured over five centuries.
As published by Romeing Magazine, 15 April 2019.
After three centuries, the wooden planks that covered the Scala Sancta in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran have been removed, unveiling the Holy Stairs that Jesus climbed.
As published by Romeing Magazine, 5 April 2019.
There are plenty of restaurants near the Vatican. While many of them are touristy, many are absolutely delicious and must-tries on your trip to Rome! Once you’ve finished visiting the Vatican Museums or St. Peter’s Basilica, you’ll probably be on the hunt for some local eateries. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or aperitif, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best restaurants near the Vatican.
As published by Romeing Magazine, 11 March 2019.
Ever wondered what’s behind a €10K+ Birkin bag? Eleven Hermès artisans from Paris have come together under the one roof (1000m2 in Ara Pacis) to share their experience and talents with visitors to the traveling exhibition “Hermès. Dietro le quinte”, (Behind the Scenes) open from 8-16 March. Visitors can see first-hand the artists’ passion and commitment come alive as they work on many Hermès’ iconic pieces, not just the Birkins and Kellys but also saddlery, jewelry and watches, porcelain, scarves, ties and gloves!
As published by Romeing Magazine, 14 February 2019.
All travelers to Rome are pilgrims. You’ll wander long distances on her cobblestoned streets and no doubt explore some of the sacred spaces to be found on every corner of the city. How many of Rome’s 973 Catholic churches will you see? Perhaps you’ll start with the Pantheon, Rome’s oldest and once pagan church, and finish with the world’s largest Christian Basilica, St. Peter’s. The Jewish ghetto of Rome is one of the most beautiful hidden treasures of the city. And take a moment out to see the first Protestant church in Rome, St. Paul’s Within the Walls. So, why not take it one step further and consider staying in a convent or monastery?
As published by the National Catholic Register, 6 June 2018.
To commemorate the 160th anniversary of the first Marian Apparition to Saint Bernadette the Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, Colonel Christoph Graf led a contingent of 19 guards (including the Swiss Guard Chaplain) to Lourdes for the 60th Annual International Military Pilgrimage in May.
As published by the National Catholic Register, 14 May 2018.
On May 6 I watched as all the recruits who had joined the Guard in the previous 12 months dressed up in their full gala uniform, body armor and helmet, and made their oath to protect the pope unto death if necessary. It is a deeply moving military ceremony that leaves a lasting impression, particularly if you know they have been making the same oath since 1506, when Pope Julius II called the first loyal and fearsome Swiss Guards to Rome. For an Australian it is a little overwhelming being surrounded by all the pomp and tradition of 500 years of the Swiss Guard.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 28 April 2010.
Australians and New Zealanders in Rome came together to celebrate one of their most important national occasions, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, on Sunday, 25 April. These soldiers are known as the ANZACs. The ANZAC spirit signifies courage, mateship and sacrifice.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 21 April 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI was visibly delighted by the rousing welcome upon his arrival, and by the affection and support shown to him during his Pauline pilgrimage to Malta. The Maltese love for the Pope was evident even before he arrived at Malta International Airport. From the skies above, Vatican flags could be seen covering the landscape.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 7 April 2010.
La Memoria e la Speranza, "Memory and Hope" is the aptly named Vatican Museums' special exhibition of liturgical items and art which were salvaged after the earthquake that struck the Abruzzo region one year ago, 6 April 2009.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 31 March 2010.
More than 100 young Catholics piled into the Nag's Head Pub in Rome on Tuesday evening, 23 March, for the inaugural monthly Theology on Tap Rome event. Many local Pontifical University students came to hear Rome-based art historian, Elizabeth Lev, speak about the spirituality of Caravaggio.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 3 March 2010.
After only two weeks, this Lent has already been a Season of conversion, witness and penitence for many Catholics, just like in years and centuries past for millions of other Catholics. For many in Rome, visiting the daily 'Station' Churches for Mass is an integral partof the Lenten journey. This is the second year I have taken part in this tradition, and the journey this year is so different from the last.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 7 October 2009.
Sunday's Papal Mass made the relationship between Liturgy and life ever more evident. The Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic celebration which consisted of the traditional Latin rite interspersed with liturgical song from distant African lands. People were brought to their feet by the joyful strains of the Congolese choir throughout the Holy Mass...
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 23 September 2009.
On 30 August at the 2009 Walsingham Prayer Festival, Mexican singer, actor, film producer, international speaker and much recognized pro-life advocate Eduardo Verástegui spoke to more than 1,200 British teenagers on the theme of "The Call to Holiness". After the festival, devout Catholic Verástegui graciously took the time to speak to Joanne Ford from L'Osservatore Romano on his grand conversion and his views on life which continue to inspire and enlighten.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 26 August 2009.
“Are you a Catholic soccer player or a soccer-playing Catholic?”, asks the website of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) in reference to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. In fact, in South Africa, as in many parts of the world, football is akin to religion. Indeed, for the South African clergy hoping to utilize this opportunity for evangelization on a grand scale, it is “time to get on the ball”.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 22 April 2009.
A delegation of dignitaries from the U.S. state of New Mexico was invited to Rome in keeping with the traditional ceremony of illuminating the Colosseum whenever a death sentence is commuted or a government repeals the death penalty somewhere in the world. This time, New Mexico “is going to be honoured with the lighting of the Colosseum. And it's a great feeling of pride... because my state has done the right thing in repealing the death penalty”, Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson said.