In 2009, Father Jim Baron, a Colorado Springs seminarian, started a tradition of running a Turkey Trot around Vatican.
The race has expanded to include a costume contest and participation by Americans living in Rome. This includes many colleges that have students studying abroad. The University of Mary, St. John’s University and the University of Dallas had the highest number of runners this year.
At least one Italian participated in the American tradition. Antonella Piccinin is the director of student programs at the University of Notre Dame in Rome and has participated in the Thanksgiving race four years.
Piccinin stated that she learned from American students how to “give thanks every day”.
“And this is the reason I want to take part every year in this contest. It’s fun, it brings people together from all over the United States (and even from Rome) to share in the joy and give thanks, she stated.
Deacon Alex Fry is also a regular volunteer who cheers on the brave runners year after year.
Fry stated that while some people believe living in Rome is a vacation, there are times in the year when you truly miss living here. One of those moments is Thanksgiving.
It’s great to host an event that celebrates something American, such as Thanksgiving. It’s one of the most special things that we can do here at the NAC, to meet up early and run around the Vatican.
Fry is about to be ordained as a priest in the Dallas diocese in May. He has offered to help with the Turkey Trot’s organization for the past four year. Fry said that the race was just one of the many celebrations that the North American College had planned for this week.
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Thanksgiving in Rome kicks off with a Turkey Trot around Vatican City State hosted by the Catholic seminarians at the Pontifical North American College pic.twitter.com/nnpblGHqfg
Courtney Mares (@catholicourtney). November 24, 2022
This evening’s Thanksgiving Mass will be followed by a traditional dinner with around 100 seminarians and their friends.
The Spaghetti Bowl is a tradition that has been played by American seminarians for more than 50 years. It will be held on Sunday.
Monsignor Thomas Powers of North American College said that he was thrilled to see the largest turnout for the Turkey Trot in his history.
“I believe that this race is a great metaphor to our Catholic faith. We run together, we run towards Christ, and do it in the company St. Peter and his successors. Powers stated that this is the purpose of the race: running around and being together in one faith family.
Courtney Mares is the Rome Correspondent at Catholic News Agency. She graduated from Harvard University and has worked in news bureaus across three continents. In recognition of her efforts with North Korean refugees, she was awarded the Gardner Fellowship.