Spiritual Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi - Text


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"Step 2" to a Spiritual Pilgrimage with Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Bishop Oscar Cantu to Rome & Assisi, 2011, for the pallium ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica.

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Spiritual Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi - Text

  1. 1. Spiritual Pilgrimage: June 26–July 4, 2011Pilgrimage organized by Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox, directorsThe Pilgrim Center of Hope: A Catholic Evangelization Ministry in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.7680 Joe Newton Dr. San Antonio, TX 782451phone: 1.210.521-3377 / dtmjfox@pilgrimcenterofhope.orgJune 26, 27 - DEPARTUREExcitement, anticipation, joy and wonder accompany the pilgrims in their thoughts and conversation asthey travel across the Atlantic Ocean to Italy, the land of the saints, of martyrs, and the home of the Vicarof Christ! Upon arrival in Rome, we will see the Coliseum and view the Arch of Constantine, raisedaround 318 A.D. to commemorate Constantine‘s victory. We‘ll have Mass at Sacred Heart Church andtime to pray and make preparations for the following days.PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you call us each by name. Thank you! We ask your blessing upon each pilgrim.May they have a safe journey and may their journey of faith bring them closer to your Sacred Heart. LordJesus, hold us in your arms and protect us always. Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the HolySpirit as it was in the beginning is now and forever. Amen.June 28 - ROMEThe day will begin by visiting St. Callixtus Catacombs. ―These Catacombs are the most important andimposing of the sixty catacombs of Rome. They may be considered as ‗the cradle of Christianity and thearchives of the primitive Church,‘ because they illustrate the usage and customs of the early Christians,the Credo (the religious beliefs) they professed, and the history of martyrdom. The sepulchers, nowempty, once contained the remains of nine popes and of eight bishops of the 3rd century. You can stillsee the original inscriptions on the wall—though broken and incomplete—regarding five of the popes.Their names are written in Greek, following the official usage of the Church in that time.‖(www.catacombe.roma.it)Traveling along the Appian Way, we will break for lunch nearby.The afternoon will be spent visiting two Papal Basilicas: the Basilica of St. Mary Major & the Basilica ofSt. John Lateran. This Basilica of St. Mary Major is the most ancient Christian basilica dedicated to theVirgin Mary, one of the most important shrines in the world dedicated to our Blessed Mother. Its PaulineChapel has an icon painted by St. Luke the Evangelist; it is also believed to be a miraculous one. Ourdaily Mass will be celebrated here.The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome. It is dedicated to both St. John the Baptist andSt. John the Evangelist. The Altar of the Holy Sacrament contains a cedar table that is said to be the oneused by Christ at the Last Supper. The Pope gives his benediction from this Basilica on Holy Thursday.Large statues of Christ and the saints, dating from the 18th century are found along the side. pilgrimcenterofhope.org
  2. 2. Nearby, the Scala Santa (Holy Staircase) is believed to be a staircase from Pontius Pilate‘s palace inJerusalem and brought to Rome in the 4th century by St. Helen. It is a practice for the faithful to climbthe staircase on their knees in memory of Christ‘s Passion. There will be time for pilgrims to purchasereligious items in the Vatican area to have blessed by Pope Benedict XVI during Papal Mass on June29th!PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the Catholic Church, for the witness and courage of St. Peterand the many Christians who gave their lives for love of you and the Church. May the Holy Spirit help usin moments of doubt and of conflict to turn to you and have hope! Amen.June 29 – ROME (Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul)Today marks a historical moment in the life of Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and of the Archdioceseof San Antonio! We will join Archbishop Gustavo in the Basilica of St. Peter for Mass with PopeBenedict XVI during which our Archbishop will receive the Pallium from the Holy Father.Symbolic of the office of an Archbishop, the pallium is a vestment proper to the Pope, who confers it onarchbishops as a sign of their union with and obedience to him. The pallium itself is a band of woolencloth worn around the neck, with short pendants of the same material hanging down in the front and back,and decorated with six black crosses. It is woven of wool from two lambs that are presented to the popeeach year at the Basilica of St. Agnes in Rome on the saint‘s feast day (January 21). After Mass, thegroup is invited to the Pontifical North American College (NAC) located near St. Peter‘s Basilica. NAC,a seminary for American seminarians from various dioceses, will host a reception for the ArchbishopGustavo Garcia-Siller and Archbishop Jose Gomez in celebration of their palliums.The afternoon is free to choose to visit some of the many churches, piazzas and historical sites in Rome!PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the gift of the priesthood! Through the priest, also called ―in personaChristi,‖ we receive the Eucharist and their vocation of service in love, faith and charity. Lord, thank youfor Archbishop Gustavo. May the Holy Spirit inspire him to shepherd the flock you have bestowed uponhim! Thank you for the priests in our lives that have led us to live a life of faith! Bless the pilgrims andall of us baptized in the faith, that the Holy Spirit will stir within all of us a desire to learn more about thehistory and riches of the Catholic Church. We praise you Father in Heaven! Thank you Lord Jesus!Come Holy Spirit and ignite us with the fire of your love! Amen.June 30 - ROMEThe morning will be in the Vatican area. The first stop is the Vatican Museum, which will include thefamous Sistine Chapel, then to St. Peter‘s Basilica where we will receive a private tour of St. Peter‘sBasilica. As we approach the Basilica, pilgrims are filled with excitement as they anticipate entering themost recognized Church in the world! How many Christians long to walk through these doors to see therichness of the faith displayed in sacred art, and to pray at the site where Peter—an Apostle and the firstpope—is buried? St. Peter was crucified upside down in Rome; his tomb is located under the main altar.The blood of martyrs is the seed of the faith. pilgrimcenterofhope.org
  3. 3. After lunch, we will visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls for Mass in the reserved chapel. ThisBasilica is the second largest in Rome after St. Peter‘s, and houses the Tomb of St. Paul under the mainaltar. The Basilica also offers: mosaics of the popes, Chapel of the Crucifix (where St. Brigid prayedoften), Chapel of St. Benedict, and a reliquary room with relics of Saints.PRAYER: ―Holy God, we praise thy name; Lord of all we bow before thee! All in Heaven above adorethee. Infinite thy vast domain, everlasting is thy reign!‖ Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your servantsand witnesses of faith & hope that lived through the centuries. May we be reminded of their example todesire to grow in faith, hope and charity! Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as itwas in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.July 1 - ASSISIWe depart this morning to Assisi. Although it is only 102 miles north of Rome, the drive is around threehours due to the heavy traffic between these two cities and a stop along the way! Upon arrival in Assisi,the group will enjoy local cuisine for lunch. In the afternoon, a member of the Franciscan religiouscommunity will guide the pilgrims in a tour of the Basilica of St. Francis. The church is dedicated to St.Francis; he died in Assisi on October 3, 1226. Less than two years later, plans began to construct a churchin his honor by his own community, the friars, and the people of Assisi. The tour takes pilgrims in theupper and lower church, including the crypt where the tomb of St. Francis is located. It is a peaceful,grace-filled, small area; so much like the saint himself!We will hear about the life of St. Francis; explanations of frescoes by Giotto of the 13th century. Hisfrescoes are based on the life of Francis as recorded by St. Bonaventure and the history of Assisi relatedto the life of Francis. The Basilica of St. Francis also has a Chapel of Relics, including personal items thatbelonged to Francis. One item on display is Francis‘ simple brown habit. Afterwards, we have time topray and rest in this historic and sacred place. The afternoon will end with Mass in the Chapel of St.Catherine of Alexandria located in the church. This Basilica has two floors, and was built shortly afterthe saint‘s death. After Mass, we will go to the crypt of the Church to pray at the Tomb of St. Francis.Before returning to the hotel, we‘ll enjoy walking the ancient, cobblestone paths of Assisi, enjoying viewsof the Umbria valley.PRAYER: Lord, Saint Francis was called ‗another Christ.‘ His great and deep love for you led him to livea life of poverty, deep prayer and charity. May those on pilgrimage encounter the spirit of St. Francis!May we all be given the fortitude and wisdom in following your Holy Will as St. Francis and hisfollowers did before us. St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us to remain faithful to the Lord! Glory be to theFather, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.July 2 - ASSISIThis morning, we will visit two holy sites: the Basilica of St. Clare and the Church of San Damiano. TheBasilica of St. Clare, dedicated to one of Francis‘ followers, is the location of the Tomb of St. Clare alongwith a display of various personal items of both Clare and Francis. Upon entering the Basilica, thefamous San Damiano Crucifix is found in a side chapel. This crucifix, a unique icon of Christ on thecross surrounded by images of the apostles, was originally in a tiny chapel in the country of Assisi. WhenFrancis prayed before this Crucifix, he heard the Lord speak to him, ―Francis rebuild my church which isin ruins.‖ That moment is significant in the life of Francis. pilgrimcenterofhope.org
  4. 4. San Damiano Church is the location of Clare‘s convent where she and her community of Sisters lived acontemplative life of prayer. Seeing the ancient convent with its simplicity gives us another sign of thecommunity‘s simple life. Clare died in this convent.Pilgrims will enjoy lunch on their own. Assisi offers so many pizzerias, restaurants, cafes; most withbeautiful views of the valley.The afternoon will be spent in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This large church is built over thelittle chapel of the porziuncola where St. Francis started his community. The church has a small roomwhere St. Francis died and has many of his relics.In the Bull for the canonization of St. Francis, Pope Gregory IX wrote: ―Francis imitated the example ofour father Abraham, when he spiritually left his land, his parents and the house of his father to movetowards the land the Lord had shown him with his divine inspiration.‖A chapel has been pre-reserved for our pilgrims to pray the Rosary; a prayer based on the Gospel of Luke,chapter 1. The Rosary will be offered for you, your intentions, and for the pilgrim group – that ourpilgrimage, which has been an investment in our spiritual life, will remain a memorable and fruitful onefor the rest of our lives.We will enjoy our last meal and night in Assisi. The evening‘s meal will consist of the local Umbriacuisine; beginning with the famous prayer of St. Francis: Canticle of the Creature.PRAYER: Lord slow us down. Sometimes we get so busy that so many distractions challenge our valuesand priorities. Taking the time to be present and see the beauty you created can be an inspiration and leadus to praise you. St. Francis and St. Clare, you responded to the Lord‘s call to follow Himunconditionally. Pray for us to remain faithful to the Lord. Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to theHoly Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.July 3 – ASSISI to ROMEThis morning, we will return to Rome. Before leaving Assisi, our last Mass on this pilgrimage will be atthe Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi. Upon arrival in Rome; pilgrims will time on their ownto visit other churches, historical sites or simply enjoy the ambiance of Rome, the ‗Eternal City!‘PRAYER: ―O God, you are my God – for you I long! …For your love is better than life, my lips offer youworship! I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.‖ (Psalm 62:2,5)July 4 – RETURN HOMEThe pilgrims depart from Rome filled with many good memories, trusting that many blessings and graceswere bestowed upon all!PRAYER: O Lord, guide Your servants safely home and in the path of Your salvation, that amid all thechanges and chances of this life they may ever be sheltered by Your help. Bless us Lord with yourprotection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.Our pilgrimage continues! Thank you Lord for walking with us, for your Presence in our lives! ... pilgrimcenterofhope.org
  5. 5. Thank you, Blessed Virgin Mary, for your intercession! St. Joseph, pray for us! St. Peter, pray for us! St.Paul, pray for us! St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us! St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us! ―Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burdenand sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixedon Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.‖ (Hebrews 12:1-2) pilgrimcenterofhope.org