City as a Vocational Space Louis Kahn, the great twentieth-century American builder, reflected on the nature of a city as he looked back upon his own upbringing in Philadelphia: 

“A city should be a place where a little boy, walking through its streets can sense what he someday would like to be.” 

The sign of a healthy city is one where the sidewalks and shops are full of people going about their business, people from all walks of life and professions and trades. When a young man in adolescence witnesses this, he begins to imagine his own place in society. 

There are many great cities in the world–and New York is certainly one of them–but there is only one city that can honestly claim the title “caput mundi”: Rome. Rome has been the standard of what a proper city should be ever since its founding in 753 BC. 

In Rome the question of vocation is intensified since the sense of being called to a life of purpose–to follow one’s natural inclination of soul–is part of a truly Catholic outlook. 

As a Roman Catholic, therefore, one’s calling informs one’s place, not only in the City of Man, but in the City of God. 

Rome is known for its pieties towards things eternal and its sense of renewal. In its bold facades, ornate churches, and countless monuments to holiness and vaunting ambition alike, we see embodied high human aspiration. 

Dante, in his Convivio says that the young are subject to a stupor or astonishment of the mind which falls on them at the awareness of great and wonderful things. Such a stupor produces two results–a sense of reverence and a desire to know more. A noble awe and a noble curiosity come to life. 

A pilgrimage to Rome in youth–or at any age, for that matter– holds out the possibility of that discovery: the discovery (or re-discovery) of the noble life that God wishes for all. 

In a world where our young people are exposed so much that is base and ignoble, please generously support the Rome Pilgrimage 2022 of Saint Mary Grand. 

Paul Connell, Ph.D