Newsletter of the District
OF ASIA’S ROME PILGRIMAGE
AUGUST 5-19, 2000
5: Wednesday, August 9, Vigil of St. Lawrence, Deacon, Martyr.
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.
John Lateran, the Pope's Cathedral
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.
Crowd of pilgrims in St Mary Major's Basilica
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.
Elevation. "My Lord and my God!"
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,
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.
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.
Basilica of St Sebastian
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.
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.
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!
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.