Sigh...Early Morning, 6:30am Mass, breakfast, last minute packing and then picked up at 8:00 for the journey to the airport. The Pilgrimage had come to an end. The Pilgrims were treated to some incomparable and memorable events. Ready for the long flight. We landed safely and headed home. Ah, to sleep in your own bed again.
Our last full day in Italy. We had Mass and Breakfast while we decided what to do for the last day. We had been underneath St. Peter. We had been on top of St. Peter. We had not been inside. Unfortunately we forgot it was Wednesday and the Audience would be happening. We spent time alternating between waiting in line and taking refuge in the shade. Put finally we got in and spent a couple of hours exploring the the Cathedral of the World. After a marvelous pranzo at La Victoria. Could not get Vince to smile. Then over to what is reputed to be the best gelateria in the world. The Home to pack.
On those days when we eat so well at Pranzo, we get to the end of the day and it seems unseemly to have another meal. WE found a little wine bar a couple of blocks from us and retire their with some meats and cheeses and a glass of wine. It is the conversation that is the best.
If you have not read "the Face of God"by Paul Badde (Ignatius Press), you are really missing something. He has a new book called "The Holy Veil of Manopello (Sophia Institute Press) which he gifted me this morning and very graciously autographed. Paul Badde met us early at a little cafe for some coffee and then accompanied us as we headed up the hill to a Dominican Monastery dedicated to the Holy Rosary. There we celebrated Mass and prayed the Rosary and spent some time with the Icon, the oldest Icon in the world, written by St. Luke of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The we headed over to the Santa Scala, and I along with a few of our pilgrims ascended the Holy Stairs on our knees.
Then for the final experience, we headed over to Dino and Tony's where we are treated to a delightful feast
A simple day start with Mass and Breakfast and then we ere picked up at 8:00 for a day on the road. We went all the way to the Adriatic sea and then turned inland to Lanciano to witness the Eucharistic Miracle. The Lanciano Miracle always gives a very clear indication of how close God wished to be with his people in the Eucharist. That this miracle occurred somewhere between 730 and 750 and 1300 years later it is still living flesh is what is amazing. In the past it has been a very quiet even with few people. Today we had busloads of children and another bus filled with Polish pilgrims. It was a bit noisy in the church. The Book store manager offered to show us a short video in English which was much appreciated.
Then we headed back to the sea for Pranzo. The restaurant we wanted to go to had closed and so we researched other Restaurants. This was a simple little place, but the food and service was outstanding. It started with a four-way seafood starter which included crab meet with pickled red onions, two different combinations with Calamari and a tuna with red peppers concoction. Then we had whole shrimp, then Mussels with tomato, fried Calamari and we wondered when the Primi would come. The starters continued with snails in tomato sauce. Then the pasta came with shrimp and baby clams and mussels, accompanied by a torta with cheese, gnocchi with shrimp and grilled calamari. Then came the fish, sea bass and others grilled and then we were done with coffee and desserts.
Next, we all slept in the car while we headed toward Manoppello. We gained the assistance of Sister Petra-Maria Steiner on the recommendation of Paul Badde and she was able to open for us the wonder of the Veil of Manopello.
Then we headed home exhausted and many just went to bed early.
Sunday, lazy day, time off. We had an early Mass and Breakfast and then took the morning off. The first order of business was Pranzo at 1:00pm. We had the marvelous company of Sr. Margaret Obrovac of the Daughers of St. Paul and Joan Lewis joined us for dessert. The Sr. Margaret gave us a guided tour of the Prison house of St. Paul. Then we went over to make a requisite visit e to Trevi and even stopped to say hello to St. Gaspar
Day started normally, Mass then Breakfast and then on to the Day. We decided to walk downhill to San Damiano after arranging a taxi to meet us there and transport us back uphill. San Damiano is a peaceful place, encountering a novice from Connecticut. Then we had a simple lunch and headed to the train station. After settling in to our Villa, we headed out into the Roman night and had a marvelous Cena and conversation with the Regina Pilgrims under the care of Beverly Stevens.
It is a very small world, especially when traveling to the similar pilgrim sites, After Mass and breakfast we crossed paths with another group of clergy coming from Mass. It was the same group we had bumped into the day before in Rome. The newly ordained Fr. Cassidy Stinson joked on Twitter that he should make me his traveling secretary. This was our only full day in Assisi so we set our sights on the Tomb of St. Francis and then the tomb of St. Clare. The we headed to the top of The Hill so we could take in the whole city. On the way down the hill we stopped at the little church of St. Steven. Then of course we had a marvelous lunch, a trip to The Portiuncula, a a nap and a lovely Cena.
The Day started in Orvieto where we spent some time exploring this marvelous cathedral. The we headed to what is arguably the best restaurant in the known world, Ristorante Rifugio San Gaspare. The Ladies were marveling over the Truffle Bruscheta, and the Truffle pasta. The drivers took us up the back road, a dirt road, but they got us to the top of the mountain where there is this rather unique Ristorante. The pilgrims had to photograph the open fire on which everything was prepared. Then we headed to Assisi, stopping first at the Abbey of San Felice. Not much to comment about Assisi. We all pretty much collapsed.
We were pretty tired. We had done seven basilicas that day. But we were hungry and we had a few guests. Beverly Steven had arrived from London to prepare her pilgrimage and Joan Lewis was back from the USA where she received a prestigious award. So what happens when you put together two powerful women journalists in the Church. Joan Lewis of EWTN and Beverly Stevens of Regina Magazine had never met until they were paired with our group of pilgrims. I think we saw dynamite. For the the next day the pilgrims talked about how exciting it was and how privileged they were to be part of such a marvelous event.
Omnia Christus Est Nobis
Christ is everything for us!
I am a Roman Catholic Priest from California. I spent 13 wonderful years years as a member of the Province of the Pacific in the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. The outline of my life can be traced here.