Back From A Pilgrimage To Italy

Back From A Pilgrimage To Italy

We just returned from our latest pilgrimage to Itally. We had a wonderful time and we experienced so much. Below is a great journal of our trip as remembered by one of our pilgrims Brenda Reyes-Pulido. We want to thank Brenda for taking the time to document her experiences and sharing them here with us. In the not to distant future, we will post an album for the Italy 2014 pilgrimage under the Gallery header at the top of this page or under the Pilgrimages header to the right of this page.. Keep an eye out for it.


Loving Greetings To All Of You!
Thank you for your prayers.

Thank God  for a most wonderful and spiritual 12-day pilgrimage to Italy   with Fr. Andre Patenaude, M.S. I prayed for all of you every day.

Please visit:   so you can see the itinerary and many beautiful pictures,  to which I will add some highlights.

– Oct. 1 –

first touring day –
With 2 other 206 tour groups, we had a special Mass at 7 AM
inside St. Peter’s Basilica.
We arrived there 30 minutes before the Mass,
and people were already lined up outside
to wait for the opening of the Vatican Square
for the 10 AM Wednesday audience with Pope Francis
By the time we went out to the Square,
there were people everywhere.
Our group of 24 was able to be seated in reserved seats near the front,
but I was luckier than them,
since I was asked by Fr. Pat
to sit with Fernanda Datoc (retired Filipino nurse from Manhattan),
who was using a wheelchair.
The center aisle of the Vatican Square from front to back
was just wide enough to accommodate the Pope’s car,
and on each side was a single row of wheelchair bound pilgrims
with someone seated beside each one.
When the Pope passed by,
I would have been able to shake his hand
if I was 12 inches closer.


Everybody was so happy to see the Pope!
You should have been there to see me maneuver the wheelchair
with so many people around us
so that Fernanda and I could reach the meeting place
at the right end of the Vatican Square.

This is my 5th pilgrimage with Fr. Pat
(all 4 of them were through 206 tours),
and I met Fernanda during the 1st pilgrimage.
She has been attending the subsequent pilgrimages.
She is a very spiritual person, very devoted to St. Pio,
knew and visited Padre Pio 4 times while he was alive,
and helped spread the devotion to St. Pio in the Philippines.
She says she’s 90 years old,
and she wanted to go to the Shrine of St. Pio one more time,
and Fr. Pat insisted that she used the wheelchair for the first time.
Our tour guide, Fr. Pat and 5 other pilgrims
helped pushed the wheelchair during the entire pilgrimage.
Fernanda felt so loved and so well taken cared of,
and she is so thankful and grateful.

– Oct. 2 –

It was a most wonderful feeling
to pray at the chapel with the image of Mary, Salus Populi Romani
(Mary, Protectress of the People of Rome),
located at the Basilica Mary Maggiore,
where Pope Francis would go to pray
before and after his trip outside of Rome.

Our local tour guide said that recently,
Pope Francis came to pray
while some 206 tours pilgrims were inside the chapel.

On this pilgrimage,
since I wanted to spend more time with Mary, Salus Populi Romani,
I missed for the first time
a visit to the Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help,
at the Church of St. Alfonso,
located a short block from the front of the Basilica Mary Maggiore,

Mass at the Basilica of St. John de Lateran

Very happy to have visited again
the beautiful Basilica of St. Paul Outside The Walls


– Oct. 3 –

Mass and tour, Monte Cassino Abbey
(Monastery of St. Benedict, brother of St. Scholastica)

I was reminded of my Benedictine upbringing,
and I kept humming, “I Am A Benedictine Child.”
I graduated high school from Our Lady of Caysasay Academy,
run by Benedictine Sisters (O.S.B.) in Taal, Batangas,
which is right next to the Taal Church, the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours,
the largest church in the Philippines.


– Oct. 4 –

Beautiful Sorrento, Amalfi Coast drive and Rufolo
Remember the beautiful song, “Come Back To Sorrento”?
Mass at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Amalfi
Watched a beautiful bride-to-be walk the many steps up to the Basilica

– Oct. 5 –

Cruise around and tour of the beautiful Isle of Capri
Mass at the Cathedral of St. Stefano, Capri

– Oct. 6 –

Ruins of Pompeii

Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii (Our Lady of the Rosary)
Viewed the body of Blessed Bartolo Longo


– Oct. 7-

Mass at the tomb of St. Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo
Tour of the Shrine of St. Pio


Tour of Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel


– Oct. 8 –

Mass at Lanciano, the site of the First Eucharistic Miracle


Tour of the Shrine of our Lady of Loreto



– Oct. 9 –

Mass at the Church of St. Clare of Assisi

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Tour of St. Mary of the Angels Basilica

 La Verna Sanctuary – where St. Francis received the stigmata
Amazing Della Robbia artwork



– Oct. 10 –

Assisi to Rome Airport to Washington DC to Charleston, WV

Everyday, we had beautiful music by Fr. Pat
during daily Mass, dinner, after meetings, during the bus ride, etc.
He always brings his guitar to all the pilgrimages.

A million thanks to Fr. Pat (Spiritual Director),
Fran Gunning, (Pilgrimage Coordinator)
Javier Valdivieoso (Tour Guide Extraordinaire)
Martino (Tour Driver)
and all the local tour guides

  Have a blessed October!

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