Newsletter of the District
OF ASIA’S ROME PILGRIMAGE
AUGUST 5-19, 2000
12: Wednesday, August 16, Feast of St. Joachim, Father of the BVM
After a delicious
breakfast we departed for Ecône where we were blessed to have a
Solemn High Mass in the new church, thanks to all the clergy that
we had with us, and also thanks to the few seminary priests and
seminarians, at the seminary during the summer holidays. The music
and singing added to the solemnity of the ritual making it wonderfully
rich and inspiring. The church was in a different style of architecture,
more plain, compared to the ones we had seen in Italy.
the end of the Holy Mass in Ecône
we posed for a group picture at the statue of St Pius X, at the
exact spot where so many times Archbishop Lefebvre stood with his
newly ordained priests and seminarians, over a period of 20 years,
and of course with the newly consecrated Bishops, in 1988.
office of Archbishop Lefebvre
we visited Archbishop Lefebvre’s tomb and his living quarters.
We met again with the Oblates, and exchanged gifts with them. We
had lunch on the grounds before leaving for Turin.
Holy Mass in the Society Chapel in Montalenghe, near Turin, Italy
We were welcomed
at the SSPX priory in Montalenghe, near Turin, formerly a Salesian
house, by Fr. Emmanuel du Chalard. After a visit to the chapel
and getting our rooms assigned we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with
wine. Our gracious host had prepared a real banquet for our group
and our clergy. Of course, we were allowed to help with the dishes
and setting of the table for breakfast. Afterwards, there was still
time before dark to see on the property one of the oldest Cedar
of Lebanon tree in Northern Italy. The seminarian that showed the
tree to us had previously thought that he would have had to do all
the dishes by himself (for 80 people)! There was also an old mansion
on the property that would only cost a few million dollars to repair.
So it was locked.
13: Thursday, August 17, Feast of St. Hyacinth, Confessor
After the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass and breakfast we boarded the buses and were
on our way to Turin to view Holy Shroud at 9:00 am. We were shown
the way by the prior Fr. du Chalard.
after venerating the Holy Shroud, happy pilgrims!
It is entirely
different to see the Holy Shroud in real than to see pictures of
it or on a video. The short slide presentation before the actual
viewing of the Shroud explained in a very matter-of-fact way exactly
what we were about to see. This was done so well that it filled
us with a feeling of compassion and sadness at the realization of
what Our Lord went through. It is a feeling that is hard to describe.
One must see it face to face to understand it. It was of the greatest
spiritual benefit for us. We were able to walk right in front of
it and pray before it. Then we returned to the church and contemplated
it in silence once more for about 20 minutes.
of Our Lady Help of Christians: The Tomb of St John Bosco
Tomb of St Maria Mazzarello
We then headed
for the Basilica of Our Lady, Help of Christians where the incorrupt
bodies of St. John Bosco and St. Maria Mazarrela looked like they
were only sleeping. The remains of St. Dominic Savio are also in
tomb of St Dominic Savio
In a chapel
accessible through a round staircase, on the right, there were literally
thousands of relics of Martyrs and Saints of all times. All the
walls were covered with reliquaries. I believe in the Communion
very special reliquary: Pieces of Our Lord's swaddling clothes,
Our Lady's veil, St Joseph' mantle, relics of Sts Joachim & Ann,
Sts Zachary & Elizabeth and of the 12 Apostles!
relics of St Ann, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
stay any longer as we had still a long journey ahead of us. So
towards 1.00 pm we left for Orvieto, six hours South of Turin, one
hour North of Rome.
14: Friday, August 18, Feast of St. Agapitus, Martyr.
façade of Orvieto Cathedral
the bus took us to the “funicular” that would lead us up the hill
to the old town of Orvieto. What a beautiful façade this cathedral
has! It is all done in bright colored mosaics with a lot of gold
leaf depicting scenes from the life of Our Lady. The whole history
of creation, of the Old and New testaments were also carved in these
exquisite relieves, to teach the people. The cathedral is rather
very peculiar with its black and white layers of stone used for
the walls. It is in the Gothic style, with a very high ceiling.
Cathedral, a side view
the front, on the Gospel side, there is the chapel of the Eucharistic
Miracle. It was here that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote his Office for
the feast of Corpus Christi with the famous O Salutaris, Tantum
Ergo, Adoro Te, etc. Part of the walls and ceiling of the chapel
to the right of the main altar was painted by Fra Angelico and showed
scenes of the last judgement that were so real!
Fr Griego offered
the Holy Mass “in the catacombs”, in the crypt of the Basilica.
This was a small vaulted chapel where the complete skeleton of saint
Evangelisto, the first Apostle of Orvieto, was inside the altar,
and visible through a little opening. Tombs of other Saints were
on the side. There were no other decorations here. Right above
us, in the chapel where the Miraculous Corporal stained with the
Precious Blood is venerated, there were Novus Ordo masses said one
after the other, complete with guitars....
The Miraculous Corporal
Here, in the
parking lot, we had to say farewell to part of our group, the Singaporeans,
along with Fr. Couture, whose plane was in the afternoon.
As a result,
the two buses headed back to Rome, through various routes, but met
again to visit the catacombs of St. Priscilla. (Reader, do you
remember who she is?) Here we saw the oldest and original fresco
of the Blessed Mother and Child.
Church of St Agnes outside the Walls,
the tomb of St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
We took the
bus again and arrived at the church of St. Agnes where we saw her
tomb and that of Constantine’s daughter. Near the church there was
a gym sheltering many students for the World Youth Week. We ran
into a lot of them, part of the 2 million that were arriving from
all over the world.
We had dinner
in town and then went to our hotel, which was the best of them all!
Modern and with all the luxury amenities we so enjoy! That night,
Father Onoda blessed the objects that we had all purchased.
15: Saturday, August 19, Feast of St. John Eudes, Confessor.
The Holy Mass
celebrated by Fr. Onoda was beautiful. There was a platform for
the Mass with two steps up in a carpeted and comfortable conference
room. After breakfast, most of the group left for the airport after
saying goodbye to many new friends. Some of the Koreans and Japanese
stayed behind with Fr Onoda.
The trip to
the airport went by very fast as we exchanged addresses and sang
songs in languages we had not heard two weeks earlier.
About 20 hours
later, we were back in our respective homes either in the Far West
or the Far East.
It was a dream
come true, to have visited so many places that we had wanted to
visit for many years, and to have been part of such historical days
in the history of Catholic Tradition, and of the Society of St Pius
X. We came home solidly grounded in our love for Rome, and proud
to be Roman Catholics.
For the two
of us, it was truly a special privilege to be included in the Asian