Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages Wed, 01 Jul 2020 21:37:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages 32 32 St. Junipero Serra and the California Missions Wed, 01 Jul 2020 21:37:37 +0000

Mission Santa Barbara with cross and sky blue background

St. Junipero Serra was a Spaniard who came to the Americas as a Franciscan missionary.  He led many of the missions along the California coast, such as Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Bonaventura, and San Diego de Alcala.  Since there are too many missions to take up in one post, we will focus on two.  We will begin with the first mission, San Diego de Alcala, and finish with Santa Barbara.

Missionary work is not the easiest.  For the San Diego Mission, the phrase “everything that could go wrong, did go wrong” was fairly accurate.  There were four expeditions total, two by land and two by sea.  And while the ships had arrived first, both crews were plagued by scurvy.  By the time the land expeditions arrived, one of the ships, the San Antonio, and one of the land expeditions had to be sent back for supplies.  As the missions waited for the supplies to arrive, they were also attacked by the native people.  However, after about six months of waiting, the San Antonio returned and the San Diego de Alcala Mission was founded.

Santa Barbara was the tenth mission, and the only mission never to have been abandoned.  The plans for the buildings were inspired by ancient Roman architecture.  While Serra did not live long enough to be its founder, he did live long enough to see permission granted for the mission to be built.  

Come with us and visit some of the California missions on our Pilgrimage to California 2022!

resource: California Missions, Scenic Art. 1979.

The post St. Junipero Serra and the California Missions appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
A Tale of Two Basilicas Mon, 29 Jun 2020 19:24:22 +0000

sunset over St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s are two of the major Basilicas in Rome.  Each was built at the site of the execution of their respective saint.  St. Peter’s Basilica was built near the Circus of Nero, where St. Peter was sentenced to crucifixion.  The first pope had requested to be crucified upside down because he felt himself unworthy to die as Jesus Christ had done.  Meanwhile, on the other side of Rome, at almost the exact same time, St. Paul was also being executed.  Since the Apostle of the Gentiles was a Roman citizen, he was sentenced to decapitation.   Having died on the same day, these two saints were born into heaven on the same day, making them twins in heaven.

The two Basilicas, which were built on opposite sides of Rome, are facing each other, speaking to each other.  When they were first built, they were almost identical.  As time passed, however, St. Peter’s grew and needed to be rebuilt.  And so it changed into the Basilica we see today.  St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s, one for the Apostle of the Jews and the other for the Apostle of the Gentiles, these two churches may be said to be the “bookends of Rome.”

Resource: our first Virtual Pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica

The post A Tale of Two Basilicas appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
The Pieta Mon, 22 Jun 2020 16:47:07 +0000

the pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica

There are two people in this statue, Mary and Jesus.  Turning to Mary first, she is portrayed as young and beautiful, as she is without sin.  And, looking at her left hand, one may notice that it is open in the act of letting Jesus, her son, go.  Why is Mary letting her son go?  This is her second fiat.  When Gabriel the Archangel announced to her the coming of her son, Mary proclaimed her first fiat, allowing the Son into her life.  Now, as it is shown in the Pieta, Mary gives her silent fiat in letting him go.  He needs to go as it is the will of God.

Where is Jesus going?  Jesus is falling from the lap of Mary onto an altar, which cannot be seen in the picture above.  The Pieta is currently situated in a side chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica, and beneath the statue is an altar where it is possible to have Mass.  Thus, when Mass is being said, Jesus falls into the hands of the priest, becoming the Eucharist for communion.  Mary lets her son go so that we may be fed.

Resource: Our first Virtual Pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica

The post The Pieta appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
The Baldacchino Fri, 19 Jun 2020 19:47:20 +0000

the Baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica

The Baldacchino is a work of art made in the Baroque period by Bernini.  Baroque art is an art of action.  The action emphasized in the Baldacchino is the descent of the Holy Spirit.  Bernini shows us the descent in the three symbols of the Holy Spirit: the dove in the center of the ceiling, fire in the gold which surrounds the dove, and wind seen in the tassels flowing outward.

The appearance of the Holy Spirit’s descent can also be seen in the twisting pillars.  These strange looking columns are Greek or Eastern style columns.  Bernini chose these forms for two reasons.  First, to remind us of the Old St. Peter’s Basilica, which was built by Emperor Constantine.  Second, to give the giant bronze construction the appearance of being lighter than it is.  These pillars add to the action of the descent by giving it that lighter-than-air feeling, as if it is just floating there while the Holy Spirit comes down to us.

Another instance of note concerning the baldacchino is its purpose and the direction it faces.  Notice, in the photo above, that the baldacchino stands over the main altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.  The purpose of the bronze structure is to draw attention to the main altar, which is, by tradition, supposed to face eastward toward the rising Son.  St. Peter’s main altar does face towards the orient, but it does even more than that.  It faces towards us as well.  The Basilica is positioned in such a way that the main gate faces east.  Thus, when the Pope offers mass towards the rising Son, he also offers it towards those entering the church.

Resource: our first Virtual Pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica

The post The Baldacchino appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
Porphyry in St. Peter’s Basilica Tue, 16 Jun 2020 17:29:58 +0000

through the main doors of St. Peter’s Basilica

Upon entering St. Peter’s Basilica, you step on this odd marble circle on the floor (center bottom of the photo above).  The circle on the floor is made of a stone called porphyry, which was used to show the wealth and power of the Roman emperors.  The stone circle is specifically placed on the floor so that we may step on it.  Our treading upon the porphyry circle indicates that we are all equal in the eyes of God and that even the power recognized by this world is beneath us.

baptismal font in St. Peter’s Basilica

However, the stone circle is not the only article in St. Peter’s Basilica made of porphyry.  Another item, immediately to the left once you have passed over the threshold, is a baptismal font (photo left).  It is fitting for the font to be at the beginning of the journey through the Basilica, since baptism is what begins our journey toward God.  The font reminds us of our own baptisms and reveals to us that, by baptism, we are made children of the King of Kings.

As our eyes are drawn towards heaven by the columns and high ceilings of St. Peter’s Basilica, we tread upon the powers of this world.  The first step towards heaven is baptism.  During baptism, we are immersed in cleansing waters from which we emerge to new life, as if from the waters of a womb.  A life where we are a part of the Holy Family.

Resource: our Virtual Pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica part 2 (Coming soon to YouTube)

The post Porphyry in St. Peter’s Basilica appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
Our Lady of Fatima and Her Immaculate Heart part 2 Fri, 12 Jun 2020 15:02:02 +0000

Church of Santa Maria dell’Orto, in Rome, Italy.

Welcome to the second apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mother at Fatima!

As you can imagine, the reactions of the parents of the three children; Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia, were varying.  Jacinta and Francisco’s parents believed them, but Lucia’s mother believed her daughter to be lying.  Lucia was given a beating.  However, the children still returned to the Cova da Iria on June 13th to see Our Lady.

Although the father of Francisco and Jacinta accepted their accounts of the event, Lucia’s mother was convinced she was lying, gave her a painful beating, and tried to make her retract her story but in vain.  On June 13th, the children went back to the Cova despite their parents’ attempts to get them to come to the festival of St. Anthony of Padua.  The Lady appeared again at noon — onlookers saw the sun dim at this precise time — and asked that they pray five Rosaries a day and continue to come back on the 13th of each month.  The children were to learn to read.  The Lady told Lucia that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven soon, and she alone would be left in the world — and her mission would be to spread devotion to the Lady’s Immaculate Heart, for this devotion was of assistance on the journey of salvation.  She left as before in the direction of the east. (God Sent, 109-110).

Lucia speaks to the Virgin three times.  First, she asks for the cure of a sick man to which the Blessed Virgin replies, “If he is converted, he will be cured during the year.” (God-Sent, 112).  Next, Lucia requests that Our Lady take Jacinta, Francesco, and herself to heaven; and to this Our Mother responds, “Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.  But you are to stay here some time longer.  Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved.  He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” (God-Sent, 112-113).  Upon hearing that she will be left alone, Lucia becomes concerned.  Our Mother comforts her saying, “No, my daughter.  Are you suffering a great deal?  Don’t lose heart.  I will never forsake you.  My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” (God-Sent, 113).

May these words of our Blessed Mother comfort us as well.  May we also take refuge in her Immaculate Heart.

Resources: God-Sent: A History of the Accredited Apparitions of Mary.  Roy Abraham Varghese. (Crossroad Publishing Company: New York), 2000.

The post Our Lady of Fatima and Her Immaculate Heart part 2 appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
Reading The Way of the Pilgrim Chapter 2 Tue, 09 Jun 2020 14:57:11 +0000

(lily blooming in July)

In an earlier post, I called the narrator of the story our pilgrim leader.  He leads us on our pilgrimage to find Jesus through unceasing prayer.  In chapter one, we found out what ceaseless prayer is.  In the second chapter, we follow the pilgrim as he continues his journey and begins to teach what he has learned to those whom he meets.

In this second chapter, Our Lord teaches the title pilgrim about detachment from material things.  He desires us to love him directly without the need of the objects.  He wants us to grow in our love of Him.  If we need to use things like the Bible or rosary beads to start out, that’s fine; but ultimately, He wants us to be able to seek Him directly.  The pilgrim learns this detachment when all of his possessions are stolen and he wanders after the pillagers in a state of unhappiness.  Eventually, the lost pilgrim falls asleep and dreams of his teacher, who instructs him on detachment in his situation.

When our hero catches up to the thieves, he meets a captain in the army and they share stories and pray together.  The pilgrim narrator then continues on his journey and finds a quiet place to stay as he practices praying ceaselessly.  When he is no longer able to stay in one place, the pilgrim moves on.  He teaches those whom he meets not only concerning unceasing prayer but also on other spiritual matters.  He meets many and gathers a reputation.  I believe it was good that he learned not to rely on physical things or the things of this world beforehand.  It would have been much harder for him otherwise.

This chapter ends as the nameless pilgrim begins a journey to Jerusalem.

The post Reading The Way of the Pilgrim Chapter 2 appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
Pentecost and Pilgrimage Tue, 02 Jun 2020 20:33:37 +0000

pilgrims on our Ireland: Saints and Scholars Pilgrimage

We are all pilgrims in this life.  As we live our lives, we are making a pilgrimage through this world.  Where are we going?  How are we getting there?  Every decision we make determines the answers to these questions.  Or vice versa, it could also be that our answers to these questions determine the decisions that we make.

So, what does this have to do with Pentecost?  Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit was sent to us, to guide us.  Not everybody knows where they are going, but most of us know where we would like to go.  The Holy Spirit guides us in getting there, but ultimately He will lead us to heaven, if we let him.

Putting these two thoughts together, we are still able to make our own decisions and we are able to choose whether to follow our guide or not.  Again, this decision either informs us where we are going and how we are getting there, or is informed by where we want to go and how we want to get there.

But these are not the only decisions we must make.  We should also ask, “who do we want to take with us?”  As pilgrims in this world, we do not have to travel alone.  In fact, it may be easier to go through life with those you love.  We are all on this pilgrimage together.  Why not travel together.

The post Pentecost and Pilgrimage appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
Reading The Way of the Pilgrim Chapter 1 Fri, 29 May 2020 13:49:03 +0000

(Lily blooming in July)

The Way of the Pilgrim is a book written by an anonymous Russian citizen seeking a way to pray unceasingly.  As I read this story, I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts and first impressions.

Beginning the first chapter, we meet a poor impoverished Russian man, who has neither house, nor home, nor family.  We find it to be written in the first person, which invites anyone who reads it to identify with the narrator.  We are encouraged to detach and empty ourselves and become as poor as he is as we go through this journey together.  Thus, we begin the search for unceasing prayer.

At first, our pilgrim leader does not know what ceaseless prayer is and much less how to attain it.  But this does not stop him.  He goes in search of those who are holy and pray often, inquiring if they know or could help him.  We follow.  Soon, he finds an elder hermit who can explain it to him in a way he can understand.  The hermit teaches him this prayer:  “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”

This prayer is very similar to the one prayed in the Divine Mercy Chaplet: “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”  In fact, it seems to be the Divine Mercy condensed.  The name “Lord Jesus Christ” invokes the memory of his passion.  Both ask for mercy.

Going back to the poor Russian’s pilgrimage, we read that our pilgrim finds a job while the elder teaches him not only what unceasing prayer is but how to pray unceasingly.  We learn that it is something that takes time to learn and cultivate as all good things are.

Resource: The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way, trans. by Helen Bacovcin (Doubleday: New York), 2003.

The post Reading The Way of the Pilgrim Chapter 1 appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0
St. Philip Neri Tue, 26 May 2020 16:05:04 +0000

The Christ Church College and gardens at Oxford University

Born July 21, 1515, St. Philip Neri was a Florentine Italian who became known as the Second Apostle of Rome.  As a young man, he left the path his family had planned for him and went to live in Rome, later becoming a priest.  He began missionary work within Rome and became acquainted with St. Ignatius of Loyola.

In 1548, Philip Neri founded the Confraternity of the Holy Trinity of Pilgrims and Convalescents in order to aid the pilgrims who “flocked to Rome” and to relieve discharged hospital patients who were not yet able to work.  Three years later, St. Philip Neri was ordained a priest.

He is also associated with the Seven Churches Walk, as wikipedia states:

Philip sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.  In 1553, Neri started the tradition of making a one-day pilgrimage to seven churches, starting from St. Peter’s Basilica and ending at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. He and a few friends would gather before dawn and set out on their “Seven Churches Walk”. The street which links Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls with San Sebastiano fuori le mura is still called “Via delle Sette Chiese” (Seven Churches Walk). These pilgrimages were designed to be a counterpoint to the raucous behavior of Carnival.  The Walks became very popular and began to attract others.

What St. Philip Neri is most noted for, however, is his Congregation of the Oratory, which began in 1556.  The members would gather in a hall and have prayers, readings from various sources, and hymns generally followed by lecture or discussion on the topic of the day.  As the Congregation grew, many of the members themselves became Roman missionaries, following St. Philip’s example.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi, May 26, 1595, Philip Neri died and is remembered as a patron of laughter, humor, and joy.  In Rome’s Cheisa Nuova,  you can go visit and venerate his body.

Almost three centuries after St. Philip Neri’s death, St. John Henry Newman brought Neri’s Congregation of the Oratory to London.  You can go and visit on our Mary’s Dowry Pilgrimage to England.

Resources: wikipedia and Franciscan Media

The post St. Philip Neri appeared first on Inside The Vatican Pilgrimages.

]]> 0