Pentecost Sunday Gospel & Homily
We left on Friday, yes Friday the 13th, without a hitch. I remember on the plane the excitement of knowing Italy was on the way. I didn’t sleep much, but when we landed that excitement kept me going strong.
Saturday, April 14: After arriving at Malpensa Airport, we drove to downtown Milan. This picture is of the spectacular Gothic Duomo, which is the fourth largest cathedral in the world. We lit a candle within one of the side chapels …
We prayed for all our parishioners, benefactors and friends throughout the trip. Then it was on to Lago Maggiore where we checked into our hotel in the picturesque town of Stresa. It was early to bed after a delicious dinner. So much more was in store for us in the morning.
Sunday, April 15: Today was spent boating around the beautiful Borromean islands of Isola Madre, Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori. Isola Madre is a private island, but we could go around it seeing the rambling English Gardens and the impressive palace of the Borromeo family. Isola Bella lives up to it’s name: “Beautiful Island.” The palace is something out of fairy tale. The gardens are filled with flowers and sculptures and white peacocks. But my favourite was Isola Pescatori. It is an active fishing village complete with a little church. It was there we had Mass at the Church of San Vittore, followed by lunch. What a beautiful day!
Monday, April 16: Pilgrimages involve travel. So Monday was a big travel day. First we drove to Pavia. We had Mass at the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel D’Oro which houses the tomb of St. Augustine. When the city in Africa where Augustine was bishop (and where he firs was buried) fell into Muslim hands several hundred years after his death, his remains were moved to Lombardy for safe keeping. They remain in this gem of a church to this day. After prayers, we went on to the Cinque Terra region. Designated a World Heritage Site, we almost were not able to see the region because of terrible land slides last fall. But recovery is on its way. What a treat to see the terraced vinyards up and down the rocky coast and to walk the “via de amore” … the way of love that connects two of the five cities.
Tuesday, April 17: Our fifth day on pilgrimage brought us to two cities. In the morning we visited the famous leaning Tower of Pisa. Located on the splendid Piazza dei Miracoli (Miraculous Plaza) it is the bell tower to an equally beautiful church. My favorite part of the visit was when we stopped in the Baptistry. A separate building (nearly as big as our parish church here in Westfield) whose acoustics are so pure that any note sung has over a seven second sustain. We had a little concert by one of the caretakers.
I’ll include more about the pilgrimage next week. Please know that you were in our prayers daily, especially at the sacrifice of the Mass. ~Fr. Brian
Fr. Brian McGrath proclaims the Gospel according to St. Mark and gives a homily on this weeks readings. Christ ask his disciples to “come after Him..”