Rome Pilgrimage: Priests for Life – June 2013

08 June 2013 to 17 June 2013


Rome Pilgrimage: Priests for Life – June 2013

First Day

The plane arrived only 30 minutes late which was not bad at all. No luggage lost and quickly through passport control and customs.
The weather is great! 

Rome is full of exciting pilgrims here to see our new Pope Francis. Today we got everyone to our hotels and got settled in before going to Mass at Santa Prassede. This is an ancient church built over an early home church and later a tomb of martyrs.
We had a quick introductory tour of ancient Rome and back to the hotel for our welcome dinner. The second video is part of intro’s by Fr. Pavone, Teresa Tomeo, Janet Morana and Steve Ray (but I didn’t video myself 🙂 

Day 1 – Part I: On the way to our first Mass

speakerTomorrow is a full day starting with the General Audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.
The first video is of our first day, the second video shares some introductory comments and such and HERE is audio clip of Fr. Pavone’s first and very powerful homily to start the pilgrimage. 

Day 1 – Part II Introductions

My youngest daughter’s new engagement is blessed today by Fr. Pavone in Part II.

Day 2 – Part I: General Audience

Day 2 – Part II: Steve’s Talks in the Churches

speakerFr. Pavone’s Powerful Homily at the Chair of St. Peter here.

Day 2 – Part III: Cathederal of St. John Lateran, Dinner with Pro-life Hero

Day 3: Assisi and Orvieto

Italy is beautiful – bella! Today we left the hustle and bustle of Rome and headed out to the countryside. One bus went to Orvieto with Teresa Tomeo, Janet Morana and new priest Fr. Casey. Orvieto is home to an amazing Eucharistic miracle.
The other two buses, with me included, along with Fr. Pavone and Fr. Cory, went to Assisi. That is why the video shows a lot of Assisi and none of Orvieto. Sorry, but I could not make videos in both places simultaneously 🙂 

Again the weather is spectacular, the food delectable, the countryside gorgeous, the company delightful and the experience deeply spiritual. Fr. Pavone’s homilies have been nothing short of profound.
Fr. Pavone’s has no problem brilliantly tying his homilies to the local site and church. Today he wove the story of St. Francis into his homily on life. 

speakerTo listen to Fr. Pavone’s, click here.
Today I gave my conversion story on the two buses going to Assisi, Teresa and Janet Morana taped shows for EWTN and it was a day full of adventure. Enjoy.

Day 4

Another banner day! Travestere is a unique and ancient quarter of Rome across the Tiber River. It is where the Jews lived prior to the time of Christ. The first converts in Rome were Judeo-Christians and it was to them that Peter and Paul first visited.
We had Mass at Santa Maria in Trastevere which is arguably the world’s first church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. We had Mass with Cardinal Paglia who is President of the Pontifical Council on the Family. He was delightful and charismatic and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the Mass in his ancient basilica and his talk afterwards. 

speaker Fr. Pavone’s homilies are carefully prepared to be site-specific meaning that he carefully weaves the history and meaning of the current church into his homily which each explores the meaning, defense and importance of human life and dignity. Listen to Fr. Pavone’s homily at Santa Maria in Trastevere here.
Then we had two hours to roam the streets of quaint Trastevere to eat lunch and shop before heading to the North American College which is the United States seminary here in Rome.
We had a great time with the seminarians, heard several vocation stories and took a tour of the seminary. For many of the pilgrims it was a highlight of the pilgrimage. We took up a free will offering at the end and collected $900 for the five who spent time with us.

Day 4 – Part I

Day 4 – Part II

Day 5: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s

It was another excellent day with perfect weather and excited pilgrims. We are having an uplifting Week of Life here in Rome. This first video takes you through the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel (clandestinely) and St. Peter’s. It also covers our Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. 

speaker Fr. Pavone’s final pilgrimage homily given at Our Lady of Guadalupe which was very profound giving the story of human sacrifice among the Aztec and the salvation brought by our Lady of Guadalupe and it’s poignant message of life. Click here to listen to today’s homily.

Part I


Part II Candle Light Vigil

Day 6: Mass with the Pope, Walking Tours of Rome, Farewells & Good-bye

The day started out spectacularly with Mass in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis. Our groups was the first in line among tens of thousands or more. So when the gates were opened we rushed in and got the very front seats and great seats.
Before the Mass the Pope surprised everyone by driving through the crowds in his uncovered Popemobile so everyone got to see him up close again. 

Everyone got great pictures and videos, some of which you will see in the videos here. The Mass was to celebrate The Day of Life.
After the Mass many of us went to La Pilotta da Mario for lunch and then scattered with our guides for a walking tour of Rome visiting the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona.

Then we drove out to the Via Appia Antica through the ancient road with catacombs below us. We arrived at Cecilia Metalla for a fantastic dinner outside under the trellises covered with grapevines. During dinner I was the MC and the guides, escorts, John Hale of Corporate Travel, Teresa Tomeo and others gave lasts words and comments.
Then we had our guest speaker Dr. Frank Beckwith share his story of reversion back to the Catholic Church. 
During his presidency of the Evangelical Theological Society he decided to return to the Catholic Church. It is a great story and he does a great job telling it.
Then we had to say Good-bye as everyone boarded the buses the next morning and headed to the airport to return home. Janet and I were overwhelmed with the kind words, hugs, grateful praises for the trip and promises to join us again on other pilgrimages. It was a very warm but sad morning as we said “Good-bye.” 

Talks and Farewells Part I

Part II

About the Pilgrimage