This informative site, operated by the Salesians has assigned Father John Del Col to produce the English version. They also provide full sites in seven other languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Dutch, and Portuguese making it truly international. The whole purpose is to foster a deeper knowledge of the Christian catacombs and the early history of Holy Mother Church. If one has been to Rome, one will appreciate all the more the nuances and details illustrated and explained in each major catacomb and shrine - especially the Catacombs of St. Callixtus and St. Cecilia. The origins and history of the catacombs show how the True Faith was fostered, why Christians were drawn here, why families were "dying to get in," and why and how these catacombs became shrines. The spirituality of these granite vaults are emphasized along with prayers and a list of the marytred saints and popes buried in over 60 catacombs winding their way through the subterranean regions of outer Rome. The illustrations and symbols truly show how the faith was perpetuated in a summary of Christian faith, a "miniature Gospel" for all to imbibe in their soul and sustain during those terrible times of persecution and passed on for posterity. Their legacy outlasted the catastrophic times of the pagan hordes who invaded Rome, intent on destroying the catacombs. This site also explains how they were excavated in later centuries by such unsung heroes as Antonio Basio, known as the "Columbus of subterranean Rome." Finally, a very important fact is that they were not referred to as "catacombs" until the ninth century.
All this and more is contained within this fascinating site which downloads very fast, reads quite easily, is very succinct in wording and offers just the right graphics to go with the copy. The symbols themselves are worth a visit to this site. Though it is departmentalized in content, it is not intended to be anything more than a virtual tribute to the shrines of the martyrs and in that it succeeds admirably. For that we gladly present this week's Golden Chalice Award to THE CHRISTIAN CATACOMBS OF ROME, conferring FIVE Hail Mary's. as we ask all the martyred saints to pray for those of us in the Church Militant that we all may have the perseverance to stand up for Christ and our faith no matter what the obstacles may be.