Deacon Bob Seidler has always felt the Vatican was a sacred place.
Growing up attending church and Catholic school, Seidler said Vatican City is one of the most special places a person of his faith can visit.
When Seidler’s daughter asked him if he’d like to visit Rome in June, it was a dream come true.
“So much of the history of our church is right there that small area of the world,” Deacon Bob Seidler said.
The deacon from Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s Catholic Church will visit Rome for three days on a trip with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and two of his grandchildren, where everything he heard about in Catholic school will be before his eyes.
“It is every Catholic’s dream to go to the Vatican and to see and experience the things we’ve heard about and read about and learned all of our lives,” Seidler said. “My goal is to hopefully quietly experience the power of the Holy Spirit in that wonderful place and just be a part of it. That’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
While he’s there, Seidler will connect with Father Spiteri, a priest who knows the area well, who will take him and his family on the Scavi Tour, which goes through the excavations below Saint Peter’s Basilica.
“These are things that we’ve admired all of our lives,” he said. “To witness some of those things is just incredible.”
Seidler said he is most excited for Father Spiteri to take his family on a private tour of the Sistine Chapel. Also, they will go to the Catacombs, the gravesite of St. Peter and the Vatican Museum.
“He takes you through places where nobody else can go,” Seidler said. “He’s very gracious about greeting people, particularly clergymen from Los Angeles.”
On Father’s Day, Spiteri has especially arranged for Seidler to serve mass as a deacon in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Seidler will be in Rome during the Feast of Corpus Christi, a Catholic celebration of the Eucharist.
While Seidler deeply reveres the pope, he said he is not expecting to run into him while at the Vatican and is not planning to obsess over the Holy Father the entire trip.
“I’m not a pope groupie,” the deacon joked.
While he isn’t a groupie, Seidler said Pope Francis and St. John Paul II are his favorite popes and personal heroes and has photos of them both in his office.
After his trip, Seidler said he is looking forward to coming back and sharing his experiences with the congregation at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s.
“I’m hoping that I’ll bring back stories and experiences that I can use as a part of my preaching,” he said.
Visiting the Vatican will hopefully be a time of deep spiritual growth for Seidler and his family, he said.
“To be in that holy, sacred place, I know will change my life, but I hope will change the lives of my children and grandchildren, too,” Seidler said. “I hope they come out with a renewed sense of spirituality like they’ve never experienced before. I think there’s a potential for all of us to experience that.”
To Seidler, this trip to Vatican City has been a long time coming and he is ready to embrace what he said God has in store for the trip.
“It’s been a lifelong journey, a lifelong call to ministry, a lifelong call to service,” Seidler said. “I think I’m where God wants me: getting ready to go to Rome.”
While in Rome, Seidler also expects to visit a few other tourist sites, including the Coliseum and Parthenon. They also plan to stop in England for a day while they are in Europe as well.
The Seidler family will be in Rome from June 16 to 18 before embarking on a cruise to the Greek Islands. When traveling around Greece, Seidler plans to visit the Catholic cathedrals in each city they stop in.
Seidler and the families of both of his daughters will be going to Hawaii later this summer and he said he plans to find Catholic churches to visit there, too.
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