Ad Limina 2012 - A Virtual Pilgrimage

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9:40 am - Bishop Jugis and Father Arnsparger have joined us in the waiting area. Our flight leaves at 11:05. Arrivederci!

9:40 am - Bishop Jugis and Father Arnsparger have joined us in the waiting area. Our flight leaves at 11:05. Arrivederci!

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We’re on our way home

7:15 am - We’re loaded up on the bus and Father Roux has just doused it with holy water, so hopefully we’ll have a pleasant ride to the airport. Thanks for your continued prayers for our safe travels.

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20 Plays
Father Michael Silloway
Final thoughts on the ad limina pilgrimage

ROME — Father Michael Silloway shares his final thoughts on the ad limina pilgrimage, after celebrating the last Mass of the 10-day pilgrimage earlier today. As a parish priest, Fr. Silloway says, he sometimes wonders whether his preaching is getting through to people in the pews:

“What helps about coming here is you can see it happen in people. Things click for the first time and for a lot of people. It’s a moment where they are truly being evangelized — by the architecture, by the art, the stories of the saints, just their own personal encounters in prayer.

People realize, he says, “these stories from the Bible aren’t just ancient tales, they are truth! That Jesus is speaking to me, through the lived faith, that is memorialized in these buildings and the true stories of the martyrs and the saints that have gone before us.

“They’re just blown away by the whole experience. And for me to see that, it’s uplifting. It’s like — thank you, Lord, thank you for working in people, for your Holy Spirit nudging hearts and bringing them so that they can have this experience.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/Jqf98G

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8:45 pm - We are having a wonderful last dinner in Rome at Cecilia Metella Ristorante, just up the hill from St. Sebastian Church. Spirits are high as we enjoy an excellent meal and conversation, recalling all of the incredible moments we have had over the week. We are also bidding a fond farewell to our seminarians, who will remain in Rome to continue their studies at the North American College. For more photos: http://bit.ly/Jly6GN

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The Catacomb of San Sebatiano

ROME — The Church of St. Sebastian lies over the Catacomb of San Sebatiano. From the 3rd to 9th centuries, the Church and Catacomb of San Sebastiano was one of the most important pilgrimages sites in Rome. The catacomb was dug out in a rock quarry in a valley, and was thus referred to by the description in catacumbas from the Greek word for “sunken valley.” Since this was the only underground cemetery to be maintained after ancient times, all other ones came to be called “catacombs” when they were discovered. The site has had a church in continual existence since. Learn more about this site and the other catacombs of Rome: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/rome-catacombs

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5:30 pm - The pilgrims just concluded the last Mass of our trip to Rome at St. Sebastian Church near the catacombs. Father Michael Silloway of Atlanta was the main celebrant. He revisited many of the rich experiences we have enjoyed while in Italy in his homily, encouraging us not to forget all the grace and the many blessings that have come  as a result of being on a pilgrimage. For more photos: http://bit.ly/JHK9ij

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Anonymous asked: SueAnn - I am overwhelmed at the magnitude of the job you have done to take us all on this trip with you!! I have loved seeing the sites of Rome again and reliving past visits, as well as seeing and learning so many new things from your experiences. Thanks so very much for a FABULOUS effort and presentation of your pilgrimage. Cindi Feerick

Thanks! All of the pilgrims are leaving the hotel for the airport at 7 a.m. Saturday, and departing later in the morning. We expect to be back home in Charlotte at about 3 p.m. And there will be lots more news and stories to share from our experiences!

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Father Michael Silloway celebrates the pilgrims’ final Mass in Rome.

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5:00 pm - The pilgrims begin Mass at St. Sebastian Church near the Catacombs of St. Callistus, our last Mass of the pilgrimage. Father Michael Silloway of the Archdiocese of Atlanta is the main celebrant.

5:00 pm - The pilgrims begin Mass at St. Sebastian Church near the Catacombs of St. Callistus, our last Mass of the pilgrimage. Father Michael Silloway of the Archdiocese of Atlanta is the main celebrant.

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Bishop Jugis wears the new pectoral cross given to the bishops by the Holy Father. Said fellow Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla.: “We wear it close to our heart as a constant reminder that sometimes shepherding the churches can be an invitation to carry a cross.”

Bishop Jugis wears the new pectoral cross given to the bishops by the Holy Father. Said fellow Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla.: “We wear it close to our heart as a constant reminder that sometimes shepherding the churches can be an invitation to carry a cross.”

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Read a bishop’s account

Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., has been blogging daily about the ad limina trip. He shares his insight to the very same meetings Bishop Jugis has been attending. Of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization: “It was a fast hour and I would wager that my brothers and I left inspired and desirous of now working in our local Churches to make this initiative alive,” he writes. 

Check it out: http://bishopsblog.dosp.org/2012/05/ad-limina-apostolorum-day-one-saturday-may-5-2012/

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Bishops caught in strike traffic…

5:00 p.m. - The bishops were caught in a serious traffic jam caused by a transportation strike in Rome today, making them late for Mass at St. Mary Major Basilica this afternoon and prompting them to leave pretty quickly afterwards as well. The strike really messed up everyone’s schedules here today, so I and the bishops had quite a time maneuvering around Rome to get where we needed to…it was wild!

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Did you know?

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, or St. Mary Major, contains the oldest icon of Mary in Rome: the Salus Populi Romani.

Enshrined in the Borghese Chapel of the basilica, the icon is known as “Salus Populi Romani,” or “Health of the Roman People” or “Salvation of the Roman People,” due to a miracle in which the icon helped keep plague from Rome. The icon is at least a thousand years old, and according to a tradition was painted from life by St. Luke the Evangelist using the wooden table of the Holy Family in Nazareth.