Beginnings of a Cool Tradition

Yesterday was the feast of the first Roman martyrs and to celebrate the Diocese of Rome opened several of the catacombs that aren't usually open due to ongoing excavations, and held a mass.
Bishop Piacenza [President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology] said that he hoped to help make the catacombs places for "reflection, prayer, catechesis-- places for a sort of evangelization." By encouraging visitors to reflect on the lives and deaths of the first martyrs of Rome, who died in the persecution under Emperor Nero in the years 63- 65, he said that he hopes to revive appreciation for the city's Christian heritage. The bishop said that he hoped the opening of the catacombs would become an annual event.
So cool. Most tourists visit the catacombs of St. Callistus, which are the largest, but in my view the least interesting--because the most "tourist-y." I like the catacombs of St. Priscilla, where, among other things, you can see the earliest known painting of the Virgin Mary.