Diocesan and Pittsburgh Catholic Pilgrimage
Group of 164 is set for Oct. 7-17 journey
Nearly all of the 164 local faithful who will travel Oct. 7-17 with Bishop David Zubik on the Pittsburgh Catholic's pilgrimage to Italy gathered Sept. 16 at St. Paul Seminary in Crafton.
The bishop presided at a Mass with the pilgrims in the Bishop John McDowell Auditorium, followed by a reception and information session with officials from Select International Tours, the company handling the travel arrangements.
"It really is exciting to know that our pilgrimage time is drawing very near," Bishop Zubik said at the start of his homily.
The pilgrimage is scheduled to include six nights in Rome, two nights in Assisi and one in Florence. The itinerary features guided tours and Masses in Rome, Assisi, Siena and Florence. There will be an optional excursion to Pompeii and Naples, and some pilgrims have added travel to Bologna, Padua and Venice.
The group is set to attend a papal audience Oct. 10, followed the next day by a Mass with Pope Benedict XVI for the start of the Year of Faith.
"I don't want anybody to underestimate what a historic time it is going to be for us to be in St. Peter's Square on Oct. 11," the bishop said. "That is the exact 50th anniversary of when the Second Vatican Council began, so that Mass is going to be a very significant Mass with the Holy Father being the celebrant."
During his homily, Bishop Zubik reminded those gathered that they are not going on a vacation.
"It is a journey, it is a pilgrimage, and the goal of a pilgrimage is that we come to know Jesus better by going to the heart of our church. And we come to know Jesus better by going to the center of our own hearts, by learning what it means to listen to Jesus and let his presence sink deep into our hearts."
He drew attention to a prayer booklet, prepared by fellow pilgrim Father Nicholas Vaskov and given to the group, that contains prayers for Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours and much more. In keeping with the pilgrimage theme, there will be many opportunities to pray on the journey.
Edita Krunic, president of Select International Tours, answered questions during the information session, where travel documents were handed out, and explained the itinerary to the travelers.
"The response to the pilgrimage has been exceptional, certainly beyond our expectations," she wrote in a letter to the Pittsburgh Catholic.
"We believe the tremendous response and interest in this pilgrimage was due to the respect and love the people have for Bishop Zubik and the exceptional exposure through the Pittsburgh Catholic."
Limited space remains for additional travelers. Those interested are urged to immediately call Marianne Murphy at Select International Tours, 1-800-842-4842.
Cost of the pilgrimage is $3,795 per person, based on US Airways flights from Pittsburgh International Airport, with two people per room (single supplement is $695) in first-class hotels. There are additional charges for optional excursions and other items. All prices are subject to change.
Diocesan pilgrimage to Washington shrine set for Oct. 6
Day will include Mass, confession, concert and tours of the basilica
Bishop David Zubik will lead a diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The day will include a tour of the upper church from 11:30 a.m.-noon, docent tours noon-1 p.m., holy hour 1-2 p.m., sacrament of penance 1-2:30 p.m. in the crypt church, 2:30 p.m. sacred music concert featuring the Diocesan Choir, 3 p.m. Mass with Bishop Zubik (will fulfill Sunday obligation) and departure at 5 p.m.
The trip will be an opportunity to pray in a special way for the vision that Bishop Zubik established for the diocese in his first pastoral letter, "The Church Alive!"
Since the pilgrimage is being held near the start of the Year of Faith (Oct. 11 through Nov. 24, 2013), it will be a time to renew the faith of participants.
The basilica was designated by the U.S. bishops as a pilgrimage church, with more than 70 chapels and oratories that relate to the people, cultures and traditions that are the fabric of the Catholic faith and a mosaic of our nation. It is also the pre-eminent Marian shrine of the United States.
It is the largest Catholic church in the Americas and the eighth largest in the world. The upper church can hold 6,000 people.
Pope John Paul II declared it a basilica in 1990, and the shrine welcomes some 500,000 visitors a year.
Buses have been reserved and will leave from the following parishes:
Vicariate 1 (two buses) -- St. Paul Cathedral/St. Regis, Oakland (pick-up at the cathedral), 412-621-4951, ext. 13; St. Benedict the Moor, Hill District, 412-281-3141, and St. Charles Lwanga, East End, 412-731-3020 (pick-up at both).
Vicariate 2 (five buses) -- Holy Child, Bridgeville, 412-221-5213; Holy Spirit, West Mifflin, 412-346-0477; St. John the Baptist, Plum, 412-793-4511; St. Therese of Lisieux, Munhall, 412-462-8161; St. Thomas a Becket, Jefferson Hills, 412-655-2885.
Vicariate 3 (one bus) -- St. John the Baptist, Baden, 724-266-6565, ext. 18; St. John the Baptist, Monaca, 724-775-3940; with Good Samaritan in Ambridge, Our Lady of Peace in Conway and St. Cecilia in Rochester (pick-up in Baden and Monaca).
Vicariate 4 (three buses) -- St. Catherine of Sweden, Wildwood, 412-486-6001, and St. Richard, Richland Township, 724-444-1971, ext. 112 (pick-up at St. Catherine); St. Joseph, O'Hara, 412-963-8885, ext. 301; and St. Michael the Archangel, St. Paul and St. Peter, Butler, 724-287-1759 (pick-up at St. Michael).