Tramore & Carbally Parish pilgrimage to Rome

Historic Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi for Tramore & Carbally Parish

Some 40 members of the parish of Tramore & Carbally as part of the Year of Faith, recently went to Rome and Assisi and arrived in Rome on an historic occasion – hours after the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, arriving on Friday 1 March. Accompanied by Fr Michael Toomey (cc Tramore)  and Fr Michael Mullins, (PP Ballybricken) and two wonderful guides, Una and Mario, the group experienced many wonderful and historical places. The group stayed literally around the corner from St Peter’s Square, and in the first afternoon, celebrated Mass in the church of Santo Spirito Relics which has the relics of St Faustina and Blessed John Paul II. This church has special devotion to the Divine Mercy, and upon arrival, the choir singing the Stations of the Cross were truly uplifting. The next day, the group went into St Peters Basilica, (jumping the big queue thanks to our guides which is hard to do in Rome!), and we had a 2 hour guided tour, which took in seeing the Pieta, the Altars which have the remains of Blessed John Paul II, and John XXIII, as well as the High Altar with the remains of St Peter himself. Underneath, we were able to pray at the tombs of Popes John Paul I, Pope Paul VI among many others, taking in the spectacular dome from inside St Peters. Later that day, we celebrated Mass in St Mary Majors Basilica, and afterwards, many went for the famous Italian Ice Creams! After which, we visited the famous St John Lateran Basilica.  Mass on Sunday morning was celebrated in  the Irish Pontifical College with the staff and seminarians who are training for the priesthood in dioceses across Ireland. Former president of Ireland Mary McAlese was there and met some of the group afterwards. A presentation of a piece of specially commissioned Waterford Crystal was presented to the staff and students of the college. The college has a long standing connection to Waterford, as Luke Wadding was the inspiration to its founding in 1628. After Mass, we travelled to the Basilica  of St Paul outside the walls and prayed at the tomb of St Paul. Later, a visit to the Catacombs which was fascinating. Later that evening, a specially arranged meal was offered for the group thanks again to Una and Mario, and even our parish curate, Fr Michael Toomey, got into the Italian spirit by serenading the singers who earlier performed for us. On Monday, many of the group went to the famous Sistine Chapel on day before it closed in preparation for the conclave. We were truly in historic times, and to be part of it was very special. Later that day, we toured some of the famous landmarks of Rome including the  Spanish steps and the Trevi Fountain. Later on, we celebrated Mass in St Patricks Irish  Augustinian Church with thanks to  Fr Tony Finn for the ‘Irish’ cup of tea which was much appreciated by all!   On Tuesday, we headed to Assisi, and visited the house of St Francis of Assisi and saw where he was imprisoned by his father to stop giving away the family pocto the poor and needy.   In the afternoon, we celebrated mass Basilica of St Mary of the Angels which contains the famous Porziuncola, the chapel of St Francis within the Basilica, and is the place where St Francis died.   The next day, we went to the 13th Century Basilica of St Francis in Assisi and visited and said Mass at tomb of the saint. Afterwards, we saw the Basilica of St Claire.   Our final day saw us travel around the gorgeous Umbrian mountains to the town of Cascia and celebrated mass at the place where the remains of St Rita, the famous Augustinian nun are resting. After which, we made a trip to Norcia to the place of birth of St Benedict, patron of Europe, and St Scholastica. On Friday we headed home on a long journey, which was filled with very many happy and spiritual memories. Upon the return of the pilgrims, Fr Michael Toomey commented: “This really has been a great group. We have travelled  together and looked out for one another. When I was inspired through my prayers and meditation on Porta Fidei, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to go and do what was required in the year of faith pilgrimages of the faithful to the see of Peter are to be encouraged to profess faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in unity with him who today is called to confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith, and to turn with particular devotion to Mary, model of the church who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as models of virtue. Well we have done that! And then some!” Fr Michael concluded: “We have all gained such wonderful memories in these historic times in the church history and we can say when Rome was bereft with the loss of the pope through abdication, we can say: ‘I was there!’ ”