Many describe a pilgrimage as a journey in search of spiritual and moral significance. Making a trip to a religious site like the Holy Land can have a profound effect on people looking to connect with their faith. Various Franciscan ministries are offering this opportunity to laypeople throughout 2017 with pilgrimages to cities in Europe and America.
Joseph Juracek, OFM, from St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., is organizing a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi from May 16 to 25. The trip, which he is co-leading with Sr. Nancy Celaschi, OSF, and Br. Thomas Barton, OSF, will cost $3,800 per person. The price includes air travel from Newark, N.J., Airport and lodging in Rome for three nights and six nights in Assisi.
Participants will stay in pilgrimage hotels that offer simple accommodations – a clean private room with a bath, according to Joe. He adds, “This also includes most meals. Along with all transportation within Italy, you will also receive a beautiful pilgrimage manual with information on all the sites we visit, with the prayers, reading and music we use for the liturgies.” For more information, contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to register is April 1.
Also in May, the Ugnayan Filipino Ministry of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City is offering a weekend pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston, N.Y., as well as to Niagara Falls from May 6 to 7, in honor of the 100th anniversary year of her apparition.
Since 1954, Our Lady of Fatima Shrine has been a place of natural beauty, art, communal prayer, and renewal to thousands who visit the unique buildings and grounds each year. The price for the trip will be $200. Interested participants can email the Filipino Ministry for more information.
In the fall, St. Francis of Assisi Parish is offering a pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain. The Nov. 1 to 11 trip includes visits to Santiago de Compostela, Fatima and Lourdes, marking the 100th Anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. “The cost of $2,749 includes round-trip airfare, bus transportation, tour guide, meals, hotels, sightseeing and flight insurance,” said Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church. “A copy of your passport and check for $400 are needed to reserve a spot.” For a brochure, contact Andrew by email at email@example.com.
Emmet Murphy, OFM and Deacon Herb Coyne from St. Anthony Parish in Butler, N.J., are leading an eight-day pilgrimage from Nov. 14 to 21, leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to the Holy Land. More information will available online soon. “We plan to visit and pray at many of the sites we hear about in the Gospels: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Sea of Galilee, Emmaus and Nazareth,” said Emmet. “Please consider joining us on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
In addition to ministries around the Province, companies such as Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs and Monastery Stays are also offering trips to California, Italy and the Holy Land this year. Since the 1970s, Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs has provided critically acclaimed pilgrimages to those parts of the world that have shaped the faith of Christians. The company aims for “participants to nurture an encounter with Jesus Christ through the spirituality of each place.”
Monastery Stays is a web-based booking service for monastery and convent accommodation in Italy. According to its website, “visiting a monastery may begin as a stopover, but one cannot ignore the presence of peace in these places and its associated ‘wellness’. It is a place for restoration of the body but also for the inner self, an experience that you will not find anywhere else.”
- “2017 Trips to Historic Religious Site” – May 26, 2016, HNP Today
- “Pilgrimages to France, Italy Welcome Participants” – April 6, 2016, HNP Today
- “Digital Pilgrimage Takes Thousands to Franciscan Italy” – June 24, 2015, HNP Today