Pilgrimage Opportunities in 2012

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

Walking where St. Patrick trod, seeing the home of St. Francis, and visiting places where the Blessed Mother appeared await members of the Province who sign up for pilgrimages next year.

Trips to Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal are being planned by several ministries in the Province. Pilgrimages are a great way for parishioners to see parts of the world that are pertinent to Franciscan history, as well as to deepen their own spiritual lives. Unlike a traditional tour, the main goal of a pilgrimage, according to one of the parishes’ travel brochures, is to grow in faith.

The departure dates range from April through November.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., promises pilgrims a fulfilling trip from April 13 to 21 to Assisi and Rome in Italy. 

In addition to the birthplace of St. Francis and the city that is home to the Vatican, the trip includes stops in Naples and Pompei and features a wine tasting and a visit to an olive oil factory. Deposits must be received by Nov. 30, 2011, according to the parish website, which offers details about the cost of the trip.

The following month, John Leonard, OFM, will travel with pilgrims to Franciscan sites in Italy. After arriving in Rome on May 21, participants will spend 10 days traveling to Assisi to see the basilicas of St. Clare and St. Francis as well as to LaVerna and Greccio. Cost information on the trip, sponsored by St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, Hartford, Conn., is available in a brochure.

In June, pilgrims from St. Bonaventure Parish, Paterson, N.J., will embark on a “Spiritual Journey to Ireland: Eucharistic Congress.” Under the spiritual direction of Christopher VanHaight, OFM, the June 8 to 18 trip will include stops in Dublin for the 50th Eucharistic Congress and Galway to see the scenic Cliffs of Moher.

The congress, which takes place every four years, is an international gathering of people from around the world that promotes awareness of the “central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church,” said Chris. The Eucharistic Congress portion of the trip will feature an explanation and celebration of communion through baptism.

Details about the trip, including cost information, are provided in a flyer.

Spain and Portugal
St. Anthony Shrine in Boston is sponsoring a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes and Barcelona, Nov. 4 to 13, with a two-night Lisbon pre-tour extension. It will be led by Raphael Bonanno, OFM, of the Province’s Ministry of the Word, who took a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land in January 2011. Information about the 2012 trip is available in the shrine’s Nov. 6 bulletin.

Varied Themes
As in the past, the features and themes of the ministry’s trips vary. Those interested in participating in a pilgrimage should review informational brochures and contact the trip’s coordinator.

This month, St. Francis Springs Prayer Center sponsored an immersion experience in El Salvador that focused on themes of justice and peace. Participants experienced how “our brothers and sisters in El Salvador live” and heard their stories.

Other recent pilgrimages taken by HNP partners-in-ministry have included journeys to Italy and the Holy Land.

— Compiled by Wendy Healy with research by Rebecca Doel

Editor’s note: The HNP Communications Office welcomes information about pilgrimages being offered by Province ministries. Friars and staff members should email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas.