On Pilgrimage…Going Deeper

Holy Stairs 2  My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Italy. We signed up for the trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was called “A Taste of Italy” pilgrimage. I had heard about it on “Seize the Day” with Gus Lloyd, a radio show I listen to on Sirius XM, the Catholic Channel. Gus and Fr. Leo Patalinghug, also a radio host, were leading the pilgrimage. At first I thought it sounded a little too religious – I wanted to experience all of the sights and tastes of Italy! Well, we did just that – and so much more. We saw Turin, Milan (and the World Expo!), Tuscany, Modena, Florence, Orvieto, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. We tasted fresh meats, breads, cheeses, vegetables, pizza, gelato – even truffles! We made new friends in our fellow pilgrims. But more importantly, our hearts were changed…we witnessed the Holy Shroud of Turin, Jesus’ burial cloth. We celebrated Mass almost every day together in a different, historic church where often saints lay beneath our feet. We even had Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome where the Apostle Peter is buried – and saw Pope Francis live from his window at the Vatican and received his Papal Blessing! But one of the most moving experiences of the trip – of my life- was climbing the Holy Stairs in Rome. These are the steps Jesus climbed to be sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate (moved to Rome from Jerusalem by Saint Helena). You climb on your knees – these hard, old wooden steps – one person behind the next, crowded and hot – 26 steps in all. I have somewhat bad knees, but I thought I could make it with no problem. By the top step, my knees were burning – but all I could think was Jesus made it, broken and bleeding, so I can make it too. And the most powerful thing of all was that Fr. Leo read the stations of the cross as we climbed, meditating on how we all fall short in life – with our kids, friends, coworkers, ourselves, how we get tired, anxious, depressed – and how we must go on like Jesus did. When I reached the top I was weeping, tears and sweat running down my face…I felt truly repentant – and also forgiven. The word pilgrimage means “a journey or search of spiritual significance.” It was that and more. I now feel re-committed not only to my Catholic faith but to reach out to others, to spread the Good News, to help build the Kingdom – to be like Christ and to do God’s Will…and more in love with my husband than ever! 

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2 Comments

Filed under Modern Day Bible Stories

2 responses to “On Pilgrimage…Going Deeper

  1. I am happy to hear that you had a great time. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

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