I recently returned from an amazing pilgrimage to Italy and Portugal. I’ve been wanting to go for quite some time (I mean, who doesn’t, right?) and last summer I purchased a ticket and counted down the days! It was as amazing as you’d imagine … Rome is a city I think every Catholic should visit at least once in their lifetime. It feels like coming home! The pasta and gelato aren’t bad either!
On this trip to Rome, I had the chance to visit the town of Assisi, where Francis and Clare were born and established one of the most transformational movements in the Church. Did you know they were canonized within 2 years of their death?
We were able to celebrate Mass three times in Assisi. First at the home of St. Francis.
The next day at the tomb of St. Francis in the Basilica dedicated to him.
The final day in the Basilica dedicated to St. Clare in the chapel where the cross that spoke to St. Francis hangs (the first image). Did you know that the cross has only been available for public veneration for the past 50 years?
The city of Assisi has 9 churches, for a population of just under 30,000. Each of them more beautiful than the next. Almost a dozen saints hail from this small Umbrian town including a newly blessed teenage, Carlo Acutis, who if you’ve never heard of, click on this link and be inspired. There’s hope yet for the teenagers in your life who love video games, YouTube, and computer programming.
At each of these holy sites in Assisi, I prayed for you, all of my readers, and your desire to “rebuilt and transform your parishes and, in turn, the Church.” I wanted you to know that you’re in good company, Saints have been transforming the Church for centuries. The truth of it is that we’ll probably be doing this work for centuries to come … in 900 years people may be making pilgrimages to your town to venerate the relics of the Saints and gain inspiration for how to move forward.
A few more pictures just for fun! It’s not just the Churches that are beautiful in Assisi! There’s quite a view and the food is like none I have here!