Romeward Bound! / Pilgrimages ~ Fr. Arthur Tonne


Our young pilgrims were off yesterday morning for a 10-day pilgrimage in Rome! They were very excited….and some were nervous! Mom fell into the latter category!

The kids have been working, saving and preparing for this trip all year! And now….their dream is a reality!

The plane left from the Kansas City airport at 10:30a.m. There was one stop in Atlanta and then they would arrive in Rome at 1:00am our time last night….8:00a.m. Rome time.

I was very relieved to get the “Whatsapp” message saying they had arrived at 1 a.m.! (None of my kids slept on the plane so it will be a grueling day today!)

There are about 80 pilgrims all together.

Here is a short description of the overall pilgrimage. The breakdown of the actual itinerary is exciting! I especially found it fascinating that they will be attending Mass in the room that St. Thomas Aquinas was imprisoned by his family for two years to keep him from going to become a Dominican! What were they thinking??

  • Traditional Latin Mass daily
  • 35th Anniversary celebration of the founding of Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter 
  • Visit both Rome & Venice FSSP Churches
  • Aquinas Castle–Mass and banquet
  • The best of Assisi and Florence
  • Famous Mosaics of Byzantine period Ravenna
  • Saints of Padua
  • Boat ride on Venice Canals

Celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) in Rome. Join Fr. Zachary Akers, FSSP on a pilgrimage to take in the splendors of Rome, Assisi, Florence, Arezzo, Ravenna, Padua and Venice. Visit the FSSP Churches in Rome (Chiesa della Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini) and Venice (Chiesa di San Simon Piccolo). Enjoy a medieval banquet in an ancient castle connected to life of St. Thomas Aquinas. Walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi while learning about his life through the works of Giotto. See works of the greatest Italian artists in Florence. Marvel at the Byzantine Period mosaics of Ravenna designated as UNESCO Heritage sites. Experience the love of St. Anthony in Padua. Explore the canals of most incredible sites of Venice. 

Pilgrimages ~ Fr. Arthur Tonne

Image from Remnant Newspaper

by Father Arthur Tonne, The Big Book of Sacramentals

“And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.” – St. Luke. 2:42.

During the seventeenth century there lived in Bavaria a certain Raimondo Giuliano. He made an exceptionally difficult pilgrimage to Rome during the Holy Year. On April 1, 1650–that was three hundred years ago–he started out from his Bavarian home carrying a wooden cross that weighed 160 pounds.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, he dragged that heavy cross over rocky roads, through rivers, and over the Alps. At last on August 31–five months later–he carried the cross into the Eternal City. He wanted to share in the graces and blessings of a pilgrimage to the Holy City during the Holy Year.

Through the centuries hundreds of thousands like him have made the journey from all parts of the world to the center of Christianity, the headquarters of Catholicity, with the fervent desire of gaining the blessed benefits of such a journey.

Today, with our swift planes, our speedy trains, and our luxurious ocean liners, a trip to Rome is a comparatively easy task. But the spirit behind it, the motives and reasons are the same.

In this Holy Year of 1950 it might be well for us to think about pilgrimages–their value and purpose and the proper method of making them.

A pilgrimage is a sacramental, unusual, to be sure, but a definite means of winning definite graces. As with the other sacramentals, Mother Church does not command them, but she does declare them good and helpful spiritually.

1. Deeply rooted in the heart of everyone is the desire to visit places where a famous person lived, or where some important event happened. Proof of this is found in the crowds one meets at Mount Vernon, the home of Washington, and at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Our newspapers during the Christmas season of 1949 told us that hundreds of automobiles with out-of-state licenses drove by the home of President Truman during his brief visit at Independence, Missouri.

With nobler and deeper sentiments the intelligent Catholic longs to visit the outstanding centers and monuments of his faith.

Where is the Catholic who does not long to live for a day or two at least in that land made holy by our loving Redeemer? Where is the Catholic who does not wish to visit Rome and the Vatican and see the Pope in person? Where is the Catholic who does not wish to travel to the spots where our Blessed Mother appeared to men and children?

2. Pilgrimages are the answer to that desire. They are journeys made to shrines, holy places, and centers of religious interest for the purpose of practicing penance, of performing certain devotions, and of gaining certain spiritual helps.

Even the ancient pagans had their so-called holy places. The Jews traveled to Mount Moriah and to the temple at Jerusalem.

Yes, we read that the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph made a long and taxing trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Pasch. It was a distance of seventy-five miles, over mountainous country and miserable roads. Their poverty limited them to a few conveniences and necessities.

Christ was only twelve years old, hardly strong enough for such a taxing trip, which must have taken at least five or six days. Yet, the Holy Family most probably made that pilgrimage not only once, but every year as long as they lived in Nazareth. They teach us that making a pilgrimage is a praiseworthy exercise.

3. Pilgrimages are not only praiseworthy and commendable, they are also very helpful spiritually and physically:

a. It is good for a man to get away for a while from his worldly cares and worries, and to think of God and the things of God. Pilgrims do that. A pilgrimage is to the soul what a vacation is to the body; it renews, refreshes, and recreates the spirit.

b. Every pilgrimage has some disagreeable features, although not all are as toilsome as that of the young man of our story who carried a heavy cross all the way from Germany to Rome. Bearing these difficulties can be a precious penance.

c. Making a journey to a holy place tends to promote prayer and devotion and pious thoughts.

d. Ordinarily Confession and Communion are conditions of such a visit. They are received with renewed fervor and thoughtfulness.

4. Blessings of soul and body are often obtained. The conversion of a friend or relative, graces for every day living, great spiritual favors, often result. Likewise, countless physical cures and wonders are worked. Medical science admits this. Experience proves it.

5. One must have a good intention to gain the benefits. Such would be the desire to honor God in some special way, to honor God’s Mother, or His special friends, the saints. One may have some special favor to ask for, but the final purpose, aim and intention should be to honor God, to obtain His pardon, or to thank Him for past favors.

6. The Church does not command pilgrimages. They are not essential. Accordingly, one should go only at the proper time, and only when one is able to do so without neglecting more serious and urgent duties. No doubt millions would love to travel to Rome during the Holy Year, but their work, their family responsibilities, their finances make it impossible.

The Church has made it possible to gain these blessings in our own diocese. We might suggest that your annual vacation be made sometime to one of the shrines in or near our country, to some place of special piety and devotion, to some center of spiritual life where your soul will be renewed and strengthened. At least we will henceforth appreciate the benefit, the value, the reasonableness of such journeys to spots of spiritual interest and help. Amen.

“Long before our little children learn to know Peter Rabbit, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh, they must be made familiar with their most faithful companion–their best friend, their guardian angel. When children grow up with a strong sense of a spiritual power at their service, instituted by God for the very special and sole purpose of being their very own helper and protector, such children need never be afraid, need never suffer from the modern ailment of insecurity. It is up to us mothers to bring about this early and very personal friendship with their guardian angel.” ~Maria von Trapp

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Our Lady’s Wardrobe

Available here.

This delightful rhyming book introduces Catholic children to the Blessed Virgin Mary in a fun and simple way-through her clothes!

When Our Lady lived in Nazareth two thousand years ago, she was very poor and probably didn’t have many nice things to wear. But now that she’s in Heaven, she has an enormous mansion. And in that mansion she has an incredibly beautiful wardrobe filled with a great variety of dresses, veils, slippers, sashes, robes, rings and crowns.

Over the centuries, Our Lady has visited the people of Earth many times. On each of these occasions she has dressed very differently. Our Lady’s Wardrobe tells the story of some of her most famous apparitions, highlighting the clothes she wore and the things she did.

By reading this book, children will not only learn about the Mother of God, but will also learn the main purpose of her life-to love and serve her son, Jesus Christ, and to lead others to do the same.

Our Lady’s Picture Book

Available here.

In this charming sequel to his bestselling book, Our Lady’s Wardrobe, Anthony DeStefano introduces Catholic children to more well-known images of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Only this time, he doesn’t use Our Lady’s clothes to teach children about the Mother of God, but rather, he gives kids a peek into her own personal “picture book.”

Over the centuries, Our Lady has been the subject of thousands of works of art that depict her as an advocate of sinners, a protector from harm, and a powerful intercessor with her Son. Our Lady’s Picture Book highlights Mary’s unique role in salvation history by explaining some of her most famous titles of honor, including: Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, Our Lady, Queen of Peace, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When children read this book, they will not only be captivated by its exquisite images, but will also learn to ask Our Lady to intercede for them with Jesus at all times and in all circumstances. Indeed, Our Lady’s Picture Book is actually a beautiful, book-length prayer to the Mother of God. Together with Our Lady’s Wardrobe, it will give children a magnificent yet simple introduction to the main purpose of Mary’s life—to love and serve Jesus Christ and to lead others to do the same.

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