Archbishop Hebda invites pilgrims to accompany him to Italy

| November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Archbishop Bernard Hebda spent 18 years living in Rome, first while studying for the priesthood and then studying canon law, and later while working for the Vatican in the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

He’s returning to Italy for a pilgrimage Sept. 20-28, 2018, and he has invited Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to accompany him.

Rome “is a city that I love,” he wrote in an undated letter addressed “Dear Friends” and published in the Nov. 9 edition of The Catholic Spirit that outlined the cities the pilgrimage will visit: Assisi, Siena, Sansepolcro, La Verna and Rome.

Before he was named archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop Hebda’s friend Franciscan Father Sean O. Sheridan, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, invited him to co-lead the Heart of Italy pilgrimage, he wrote.

In the letter, he described the sites the pilgrims will see, including the cave where St. Francis of Assisi prayed, the place he received the stigmata and the 13th-century basilica that honors him; places connected to the life of St. Catherine of Siena; the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

“In addition to visits to the Cathedral of St. John Lateran and the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, I made sure our itinerary included a stop at two sites connected with the patron of our archdiocese: the majestic Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where St. Paul is buried; and the Sanctuary of Tre Fontane, where he was martyred,” Archbishop Hebda wrote. “I cannot think of better places for praying for our archdiocese.”

The pilgrimage will include daily Mass, prayer, speakers and fellowship, he said. “Of course, we will also have ample time to enjoy the art, beauty and food of Italy (the first gelato is on me)!” he added.

“I have only given you the antipasto for the pilgrimage,” he continued. He directed interested Catholics to visit Franciscan University’s pilgrimage website or to call Franciscan University Pilgrimage Office at 740-284-5812. According to Franciscan University’s website, the estimated cost of the pilgrimage is $3,995 per person.

“If you are at a station in your life where you feel God might be calling you to a more intense experience of the saints and a richer experience of your faith, this Heart of Italy Pilgrimage will help strengthen you on that journey and deepen your commitment to strive for holiness,” he wrote. “God willing, I look forward to pilgrimaging with you to Italy.”

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