For many, traveling to a religious site can deepen one’s connection to their faith and the historical events that occurred there. Various Franciscan organizations are offering this opportunity to laypeople throughout 2016 with pilgrimages to countries in Africa and Europe.
Two trips are being offered in May by the HNP Franciscan Missionary Union. John Aherne, OFM, will lead a mission trip to South Africa from May 16 to 29 to explore the legacy of apartheid, visit children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and discover the diversity of the country. John, who lives at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, spent a month in Africa this summer.
In addition, the FMU is sponsoring a mission and Islamic awareness trip to Turkey, visiting the cities of Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus and Konya from May 16 to 24. It is being led by Michael Calabria, OFM, director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, and will cost $3,500 per person.
The FMU is also offering mission trips to Cuba. Paul welcomes interested people — friars and laypeople — to contact him for information.
Also in May, St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., is sponsoring a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem. Parochial vicar Joseph Juracek, OFM, will lead the group. The land and air package costs $4,080 per person. For more information, contact Betty Houston with Cardinal Tours at 973-835-0177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later in the year, Kevin Downey, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., will lead a pilgrimage to Greece, following in the “Footsteps of St. Paul the Apostle,” from Oct. 12 to 22. The Collette Vacations-sponsored trip includes a three-night Greek Islands and Turkey cruise. The cost is $3,989 and includes round-trip airfare from Newark, N.J., Airport. Details can be obtained from Kevin at email@example.com.
In November, Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City, will lead a jubilee pilgrimage to Italy. Any pilgrimage to Rome between Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016, will be known as part of the Jubilee of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis, Andrew said. Participants will travel to Assisi, Florence, Rome and Venice from Nov. 9 to 19, 2016 at a cost of $2,799 per person. More information is available by calling Andrew at 212-736-8500 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Mary Best is a St. Bonaventure University graduate who lives in Western New York.
Editor’s note: Ministries are encouraged to notify the HNP Communications Office of pilgrimages that are open to people outside their geographical areas.
- “New Center for Arab and Islamic Studies Seeks to Educate Franciscan Community” — Nov. 24, 2015, HNP Today
- “2016 Pilgrimages Accepting Participants” — Nov. 12, 2015, HNP Today
- “Pilgrimages to Franciscan Italy, France Offered” — May 27, 2015, HNP Today