Newsletter of the District
OF ASIA’S ROME PILGRIMAGE
AUGUST 5-19, 2000
7: Friday, August 11, Feast of Sts. Tiburtius and Susanna, and St.
Philomena, Virgin, Martyrs.
like last Monday, with swapped destinations.
Fr. Onoda celebrated
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the hotel, for the first group,
our group. After breakfast we went to see the excavations of St.
Peter underneath the Basilica. The tour guide was quite knowledgeable;
and gave us an excellent explanation of the area on which the Vatican
Niche of the Pallia, standing right over the actual grave of St
The bones of St Peter were discovered hidden in a cavity in the
called the Graffiti Wall.
We met Fr.
Griego at the Basilica where he had gone early in the morning to
try to celebrate Mass. After obtaining permission from the priest
at the sacristy, and having arrived at the Confiteor, at the altar
of Blessed Pope Innocent XI, he was made to stop and leave by one
of the sacristans there who told him rudely to say the New Mass
or to go because “This (tridentine) Mass is not allowed here!”
But Our Blessed Lady saw this sacrilegious interruption of
the Holy Sacrifice. Later, during the day, while visiting the church
of St Alphonsus, Fr Griego got permission from the sacristan to
offer the Holy Mass on the Main Altar, facing the original image
of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor! Thank you, Blessed Mother!
Griego saying the prayers at the foot of the altar
at the altar of Pope Blessed Innocent XI just before being rudely
by a sacristan and ordered to stop immediately
With a few
others, we took the bus to go back to the church of St. John Lateran
where we saw the massive statues of the apostles. One showed St.
Bartholomew skinned alive and holding his skin in his hands. The
chapel of the Scala Santa (the Holy Stairs) was across the
street. This is Pontius Pilate’s staircase, brought back to Rome
by St Helen. We went up the 28 steps on our knees and kissed the
crystal in the center of the steps, which covered the drops of blood
that dripped from Our Lord, on the first Good Friday. It was so
hot and humid and terribly painful, but really worth it. Then we
boarded the bus again, back to St. Paul’s Outside the Walls to see
this time the relics of the arm of St. Ann and the chains of St.
Blessed Sacrament Altar in St John Lateran.
Behind the scene of the Last Supper is kept the original Table of
the Last Supper.
other group, led by Fr Wailliez went to Monte Cassino and Naples
like we did earlier this week.
8: Saturday, August 12, Feast of St. Clare, Virgin.
Shrine to St Michael of Monte Gargano
We left Rome
at 8:30 am under the leadership of Fathers Griego and Onoda, and
started our long ride to Monte Gargano, in the South East of Italy,
where, in the 5th century, the apparitions of St. Michael
took place (see May 8 in the missal). Saint Michael himself blessed
this chapel. In this church which is really in a cave we were able
to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Main Altar and to
receive Holy Communion.
of the innumerable relics found in Rome.
St Anania is the disciple who baptized St Paul the Apostle
along the Adriatic Sea to San Giovanni Rotondo. Here we were greeted
by a Capuchin Father who blessed us with a crucifix that Padre Pio
had used and a piece of cloth that had been touched to his body.
A lot of pictures depicting Fr. Pio’s life lined the walls of the
monastery. We saw the room and prayed fervently at the tomb of
9: Sunday, August 13
Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
we left for Lanciano to see the oldest Eucharistic Miracle recorded.
We saw the monstrance with the Sacred Host and Precious Blood that
turned into real flesh and blood. This made a big impression on
everyone, especially when we were told that the flesh is actually
just like an horizontal cut or slice, if you want, of a human Heart!
That explains why there is a hole in its center: it simply corresponds
to the cavity of the heart. It sure gave us to have a deeper appreciation
of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. Fr. Wailliez
was allowed to celebrate Mass in a small, bare chapel in the basement
of the church. This was very moving. The whole group crowded into
this small chapel and as Father celebrated the Mass, a Franciscan
friar kept coming in to look over and over again. Then after communion
the Filipino deacon that was with us had to consume a great number
of consecrated hosts, since too many had been consecrated. We really
felt that we were in the times of the catacombs.
Basilica of Loreto, containing the scientifically proven
authentic house of Our Lady of Nazareth
Late in the
afternoon, we arrived in Loreto and visited the church that contains
Our Lady’s original house of Nazareth where the Immaculate Conception
and the Incarnation took place. What a privilege to be in such
a holy place and to touch the walls that Our Lady had touched.
There are so many beautiful altars in this church. One of them
had scenes of Our Lady’s life nicely painted on all the walls and
10: Monday, August 14, Vigil of the Assumption
St Dominic, the Apostle of the Holy Rosary,
the founder of the Dominicans
We left the
hotel in Ancona next to the Adriatic Sea and headed inland for Bologna
to pray at the grave of St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order.
Again, we were privileged to have the Holy Sacrifice in very special
places: Fr. Onoda was able to offer it on the altar of the tomb
of St Dominic, another priest in St. Dominic’s cell, at the very
spot where he died. This last chapel was a very plain, small room
housing some of his relics. There were only a dozen people at this
Mass and we were included! It was so beautiful and special.
the reliquary with the skull of St Dominic
The bus continued
to Switzerland for a good 6 hours more during which we listened
to some talks about Our Lady of Fatima and the three secrets. We
also sang many hymns, prayed and played games, led by Fr. Onoda.
The scenery as we left Italy and got into the Alps was indescribably
beautiful! Many of us wanted to sleep but did not want to miss the
panorama before us.
arrived at our hotel in Grimentz, in the Swiss alps, about one hour
from Ecône, at about 9:30 p.m. and we were served a delicious and
elegant dinner. This was a quaint hotel whose owners are great
friends of Fr. Couture.
11: Tuesday, August 15, Feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady.
Grimentz: the small chapel in the alps
we had a chance to look around the little village, so beautiful
and picturesque! Then, a one-hour walk from the hotel, all uphill,
through the forest, brought us to our chapel where we were to have
the Holy Mass. Along the way, we were being prepared to unite ourselves
to the Holy Sacrifice by beautiful Stations of the Cross, in bronze,
put along the trail for the last half of the climb.
breath-taking view from the chapel, at 5000 ft (1600m)
a majestic view! Mass in the Swiss Alps, at Grimentz! The Mass
had to be said in the open air along the outside wall of the tiny
chapel perched on an edge as on a promontory, on the side of a sky
slope. A good half a dozen of Oblate Sisters of the SSPX who had
come to join us for the day, composed the Schola. One of them was
actually from the Philippines, Sr. Maria Concepcion. The Sung Mass
was offered by Fr. Couture with a short English sermon, translated
in Korean and Japanese (like all the other instructions of the whole
pilgrimage, by the way).
little picnic followed with complimentary wine from our hotel manager.
Fr. Couture was kind enough to give many of us a ride back to the
village, thanks to a family car he borrowed, and we were very grateful!
The afternoon was free. Two cars brought a small group at a car
park at 6000 ft (2000 m) to see the Moiry Glacier and to see and
touch snow, which was for some, for the first time ever!!
On the way
back to the village, Mrs. Salamin, our hotel manager’s mother-in-law,
invited us to have a glass of wine in the family cellar across from
her home. It was a special treat! A lovely wine cellar, with
about 10 oak barrels of different wines, and stacks of rounds of
Swiss cheese… The dinner this evening included one of these delicious
cheese from the region, the famous ‘Raclette’, that was served hot,
with baby potatoes and little round onions. The Hotel Manager himself
entertained us with his accordion music during dinner. A real treat.
Vive la Suisse!