A faith for the ages
Bishop blesses Ron and Carol Ann Shell.Tuesday was a day for ancient Rome. The Coliseum, Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill were visited in the morning, and lunch was enjoyed by the pilgrims at their choice of restaurants and cafes near St. Peter’s Square. It was also a chance to buy a few special religious articles before tomorrow’s papal audience, where Pope Benedict will bless any items that are brought to the event.
Lisa and John Kolonich, who are members of a parish in the Diocese of Greensburg, saw the story in January in the Pittsburgh Catholic about the pilgrimage. A friend in John’s Catholic Men’s Fellowship group, who attends St. Bernadette Parish in Monroeville, occasionally brings copies of the newspaper to their Saturday meetings.
Upon seeing the newspaper article they knew the pilgrimage would be the perfect way to celebrate their 25thwedding anniversary.
The afternoon featured a tour of the catacombs of St. Calistus, near the ancient Appian Way, which was a Roman “highway.” The pilgrims got to see where as many as a half-million early Christians, many of them martyrs for the faith, were buried.
Between the steps at the Coliseum, Roman Forum and the catacombs, the pilgrims got as good a workout as any Stairmaster could provide.
Afterward, the Pittsburgh group celebrated Mass at a church dedicated to St. Tarcisius, a young martyr who is patron saint of altar servers. His relics are contained in a box in the new church, which was dedicated in May this year and is maintained by a Salesian religious community.
At the end of Mass, Bishop Zubik blessed Ron and Carol Ann Shell, who are marking their 50thwedding anniversary. They were married July 7, 1962.
The pilgrims have a date with Pope Benedict tomorrow. The audience is set for 10:30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, followed by visits to the basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran, the pope’s church. There may be a few Terrible Towels waving when the Pittsburgh group is announced at the audience.
Go, Pittsburgh Pilgrims!