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Bishop Hebda to Lead Pilgrimage to Rome

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Bishop Bernard Hebda invites the faithful to consider joining him for a Pilgrimage to Italy in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the Diocese of Gaylord. The plans for the trip were finalized in just the last few weeks, and now the countdown begins to November when the group will depart for a nine-day excursion that will include sightseeing in Rome, Orvieto, Florence and Assisi.

“The idea of a pilgrimage to Rome was brought up when we were discussing ways to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the diocese,” Bishop Hebda said. “It seemed important to acknowledge that the decision to erect the Diocese of Gaylord stemmed directly from the Successor of Peter’s pastoral care for the faithful of Northern Michigan. How wonderful if a delegation from the diocese could now, with 40 years of lived experience and ministry under our belt, have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Vatican to thank personally the Successor of Peter for that constant pastoral care which continues to link our local Church to the Church of Rome. I thought, moreover, that a pilgrimage to the Eternal City would be a marvelous opportunity for us to join together on a faith journey to experience those places and monuments which are so central to who we are as Catholics. Having lived in Rome for 18 years, it is a city that I love and I am anxious to introduce my fellow pilgrims to her charms and treasures.”

The trip is scheduled for November 2-10, 2011, during the so-called Summer of St. Martin (between the feasts of St. Martin de Porres and St. Martin of Tours, the Roman version of our “Indian Summer”) and includes round-trip motorcoach transfer from Gaylord to Detroit Metro Airport; round-trip airfare from Detroit to Rome; four nights accommodations in Rome; and three nights accommodations in Assisi. Also included in the package are daily continental breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners (including both a Welcome and Farewell Dinner.) Mass will be celebrated each day.

Highlights of the tour will include a Papal Audience (pending the Holy Father’s final schedule), and sightseeing in many of Italy’s most celebrated venues:

  • Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and a tour of the city made famous by Sts. Francis and Clair, including a visit to St. Mary of the Angels, built over the small Porziuncola Church where St. Francis died in 1226.
  • Mass at the hermitage situated on the face of Monte Subasio where St. Francis and his followers would gather to pray, home to one of the most beautiful vistas of the Umbrian countryside.
  • Mass in the Duomo of Florence and a guided tour of the city with stops at the Baptistry Doors, the Piazza della Signoria (an “open-air museum,”), a visit to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s world famous statue of David, and to the Church of Santa Croce where we will see the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Rossini.
  • Mass in the famous and breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral of Orvieto, home of the Eucharistic Miracle
  • Castel Gandolfo – the summer residence of the Pope –and a number of sites in the Castelli Romani, including the Marian Sanctuary of Divino Amore.
  • Evening prayer at the North American College.
  • Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica – in a private chapel (subject to confirmation) and then a tour of Christian Rome that includes St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Mary Major, the Holy Steps climbed by Christ in Jerusalem, and the Basilica of the Holy Cross, where some of Christianity’s most important relics, including a piece of the True Cross, thorn, and nails are housed.
  • Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel where you will view Michelangelo’s famous ceiling and the Last Judgment
  • The heart of Ancient Rome – the Coliseum, Capitoline Hill, the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and the Roman Forum.

The standard price for the tour (per person based on double occupancy) is just over $3,200. Additional charges for air taxes and fuel surcharges have been estimated at $450 per person. Discounts are available for early booking and for paying by cash or check. A deposit of $350 is required to book the trip, with an additional $1250 due on or before June 5. The balance is due by August 4, 2011.

Corporate Travel Services from Dearborn Heights, Michigan is making the arrangements. Questions and reservations should be directed to them at 313.565.8888, extension 121. Posters and brochures have been made available to parishes. Brochures may also be downloaded below.