Italy Pilgrimage

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The pilgrims in Florence

Saturday, October 20, 2012
The pilgrims in Florence

937 Winding down the Pittsburgh Catholic’s pilgrimage to Italy, the groups (staying in two different hotels because some would be heading on the extension to Venice) walked Tuesday (Oct. 16) to the Accademia Galleria in Florence’s San Marco district. That’s where Michelangelo’s masterpiece depiction of the biblical hero “David” is on display.

The pilgrims went on a guided tour of the museum that contains many artworks, including unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo. But the centerpiece of the exhibit is the 17-foot statue of the man who killed Goliath, sculpted in 1504 when Michelangelo was 29 years old.

The groups next walked to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower), which is the cathedral of Florence. Begun in 1296 and completed in 1436, the Duomo (cathedral) was the site of the pilgrims’ final Mass.

Bishop Zubik blessed all of the couples who were celebrating wedding anniversaries on the pilgrimage, and he blessed any religious articles that they had bought after their earlier encounters with Pope Benedict. 

Then it was lunch on their own before boarding buses for a two-hour ride (including a brief stop at the halfway point) to a hotel near Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. The Venice extension group planned to stay in Florence another night before traveling to the city of canals and bridges.

With all of the walking that the pilgrims did, Karen Tomcik of St. Philip Parish in Crafton found a novel way to make the exercise even more meaningful. As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, she participated in the organization’s Friends of the Poor Walk during the pilgrimage.  

Tomcik used a pedometer to measure her distance and recruited sponsors to donate money toward the fundraiser. What a great idea to support a worthy cause.

The next day (Wednesday, Oct. 17) most of the pilgrims were set to fly back home with a fresh perspective on their faith and a new appreciation for the Church Alive.

A final wrap-up on the pilgrimage is coming up, and full coverage of the journey is scheduled to be published in the Oct. 26 issue of the Pittsburgh Catholic.