Bon voyage, pilgrims! Meet some of the 40 local travelers
CHARLOTTE — May 2 was an exciting day for the more than 40 pilgrims from the Diocese of Charlotte and the Archdiocese of Atlanta who teamed up for a trip to Rome to join their respective bishops, Peter Jugis and Archbishop Wilton Gregory, on their ad limina visit to the Eternal City May 6-12.
The pilgrims from Charlotte were at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport by mid-morning, exchanging hugs with one another in joyful anticipation of the 10-day pilgrimage which will take them 5,000 miles from home.
Some of them are veteran international travelers, like Deacon Carlos Medina and his wife Martha. In fact, Martha came so prepared that she had extra travel items like sleep masks and earplugs to share with those who had forgotten to pack them.
Pictured: Some of the pilgrims celebrate Mass at Chiesa Nuvoa in Assisi May 3. (Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald)
Deacon Robert Murphy and his wife Angeles are also accustomed to the rigors of sleep deprivation from changing time zones and the ins and outs of electronics in what can be a confusing conversion system.
The "official" tour director for the pilgrimage is Father Christopher Roux, rector of St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte.
He greeted pilgrims as they arrived at the airport and, as any good tour director does, shepherded them through the maze of the unfamiliar airport in Philadelphia when they had to change plans for the flight to Rome.
Father Roux was particularly noticeable inside the very busy terminal as he was carrying a large brown case containing the crosier the Bishop of Charlotte uses, which features an image of the Lamb of God. The crosier is in need of repair, so Father Roux is transporting it to a shop in Italy that specializes in fine religious items.
There are a total of three priests on the pilgrimage. Father John Eckert, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, and Father Michael Silloway of the Archdiocese of Atlanta are assisting Father Roux by rotating the responsibility as main celebrant at daily Mass on specific days.
Father Eckert is traveling with his mother Cheryl and his aunt Carol. Both he and his mother are going to Rome for the first time.
Father Silloway studied at the North American College in Rome for five years and is looking forward to going back to visit friends and enjoy all that Italy has to offer. He is especially looking forward to visiting a small church in Assisi, where he spent time in prayer when he was in a month-long Italian language immersion program in 1996.
"There is this little, tiny church where they think St. Francis played as a child," said Father Silloway. "It's called San Stefano...it's the most humble church you can imagine. There is no decoration inside; just stones built up on stones, holds maybe 20 people.
"Every day I would go down into that church and have my time with the Lord...it captures the spirit of Francis for me there."
Adrienne, a parishioner from St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte, is thankful to have the opportunity to join the group, as she signed on to the tour late and wasn't sure she would be allowed to join the pilgrimage. It's her first time traveling to Italy, and her excitement is palpable.
"I'm so excited! The trip was totally closed but I begged, I pleaded," she said.
"I think for anybody that is Catholic, Rome is our spiritual home. My family is from Siena, so I get to see where my family is from...St. Francis is one of my favorite saints. There is such wonder and joy on this trip."
After an overnight trip to Rome, the pilgrims boarded a bus for the three-hour drive to Assisi where they will spend the next two days.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Father Patrick Winslow: What can we learn from Pope Francis?It appears as if popes have something on their mind when first elected. One might call it a diagnosis and a proposed remedy for current ails. With Pope John Paul II, it was a message of hope to a world filled with fear. One can still hear him...
David Hains: Close that unhealthy health centerThe Gosnell abortion mill in Philadelphia and A Preferred Woman's Health Center in Charlotte have something in common: little regard for human life. It should come as no surprise that women are being mistreated in these facilities since...
Peggy Bowes: Honor thy mother: Devotions to Mary"We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor His Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor Him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son." — St. Louis de Montfort,...
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rightsAs a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical ChristianityRecently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrificeSt. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...
Brian Williams:The honest 411 on Vatican III recently had the opportunity to take a class about the Second Vatican Council offered through a diocesan adult education program. While much was covered within a relatively short span of four classes, one subject occupied much of our time...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Vatican II called for post-conciliar liturgical adaptationsThe April 26 Catholic News Herald commentary entitled "The Honest 411 on Vatican II" discussed a participant's experience at an adult education series in the diocese. The course, "The 411 on...
Warrior saints are found throughout historyRegarding the April 26 letter criticizing St. Nicholas of Flue, I am disgusted that an American would insinuate that a soldier who distinguishes himself or herself in combat is not following...
Who would be worthy?In a letter in the April 26 Catholic News Herald, St. Nicholas of Flue was referred to as someone who "did not follow those teachings" of Christ because he defended the faith with his sword and...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy