Newsletter of the District of Asia

 September-October 2000

AUGUST 5-19, 2000

previous page

Day 5: Wednesday, August 9, Vigil of St. Lawrence, Deacon, Martyr.

After Mass and breakfast at the hotel, since the buses could not bring us within the walls of Rome because of the Jubilee, they took us to St Paul Outside the Walls. From there we took the street bus, all 70 pilgrims with our banners and singing at the top of our lungs, inside the bus (!) the beautiful hymns Fr. Couture had taught us.  We were quite a sight! We joined the rest of the worldwide group who had just started to enter St. John Lateran where the heads of Saint Peter and Paul are above the main altar.  

St John Lateran, the Pope's Cathedral

The Asian Pilgrims cross the Holy Door

In the Basilica is the original table of the Last Supper.  It is above the Tabernacle, on the left of the Main Altar.  After all the Jubilee prayers and hymns were recited, the entire group processed carrying banners and singing hymns, divided according to the various languages, for about 10 blocks to St. Mary Major, on Via Merulana, which was kindly closed for us by the Italian police at the very last minute. 

The Crowd of pilgrims in St Mary Major's Basilica

There, again, we made our profession of Faith and recited the prescribed prayers.  As a matter of fact, since St Mary Major can only accommodate about 2000 people, the organizers of the Pilgrimage divided all the pilgrims in two groups: the non-French speakers, and the French speakers, and there were two sessions within the Basilica.  A picnic lunch followed on Nero’s Garden, at Colle Oppio. 

The Elevation. "My Lord and my God!"

That afternoon Bishop Fellay celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in that park where a beautiful altar had been set up.  All SSPX bishops and clergy and religious were in attendance and all 5000 pilgrims filled the park.  It was a beautiful and extremely well organized celebration.  Our hats are off to the SSPX District of Italy for the wonderful work they did in carrying out such an event so smoothly and without incident under such hot and very humid conditions.  One of our pilgrims from India was interviewed by a local newspaper, which the following day had a picture of part of the group under the heading of “Extremists, Schismatic, Lefebvrites”.

Day 6: Thursday, August 10, Feast of St. Lawrence, deacon, martyr

Mass and breakfast at the hotel then visit to St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, as the first of the few Basilicas we were going to visit that day.  Due to late arrival at the hotel the night before and the limited hours of driving allotted to our bus driver, we were not able to visit the Seven Basilicas like the 2000-3000 pilgrims who did so by foot.  We went by … bus, to try to catch up with some of the pilgrims. Here, at St Lawrence, we venerated the bodies of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen’s as well as the soon-to-be beatified Pope Pius IX, in beautiful chambers just under the main altar.  Outside we met Fr. Rifan, the former secretary of Bishop de Castro Mayer, from Brazil.  He told us about his apostolate with his 1000 parishioners and 300 children school, Carmelite 3rd order for men and women as well as other religious organizations in his parish.  He was accompanying a large group of pilgrims from his country.

Arriving at St Callixtus,
the Asian Pilgrims overtaken by a 'flying' Bishop Fellay

We then visited St Sebastian’s Basilica next to the catacomb of St. Callixtus and saw the cross in front of which St. Bridget prayed.  As we walked the last 500 meters to get to the Basilica, we were passed by a ‘flying bishop’: it was none other than our Superior General Bishop Fellay, walking the full 23 km of the Seven Basilicas, and who was at that moment walking very fast at the head of a group of Austrian pilgrims visibly trying to keep up with him!  We also met Father Scott and some friends from the U.S. delegation.

The Basilica of St Sebastian

The Basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem

We then visited the Basilica named Holy Cross in Jerusalem, so called because St. Helena after finding the true cross in Jerusalem had ship loads of soil brought to Rome to build this church.  We saw the largest existing relic of the Holy Cross, a relic of one of the nails of Our Lord, two thorns from His crown, the wooden inscription atop His cross with the I.N.R.I. spelled out and St. Thomas the Apostle’s fore-finger.  In a different case, we saw the horizontal beam, the patibulum, of the cross of the good thief, St. Dismas.

The Asian Pilgrims professing their faith in the Roman Underground!

Then we went to St. Peter’s Basilica by the underground (metro) and here too we professed our faith carrying our banners and singing in the staircase and on the platform.  In St Peter’s, Father Couture led us in prayer at the seven privileged altars to gain very special indulgences.  We congregated before the altar of St. Pius X and were singing in his honor when we were suddenly told to stop singing by one of the security people there, because of some ceremonies taking place far away in the front of the Basilica. 

The list of the Popes buried in St Peters

Dinner in Rome at a wonderful Chinese Restaurant.  Some of the pilgrims were wondering why we were eating in all these Chinese restaurants when we were in Rome!!  In Rome do as the Romans, isn’t it?  Yes, except when you are with the Asians!

Just before the dinner, Fr. Couture left us to attend a meeting of all SSPX Superiors in Albano that was going to take place in the following days, until the 14th.

next page

Home | Newsletters | Library | Vocations | History | Links | Search | Contact