It’s an old Catholic tradition to visit 7 churches on Holy Thursday.

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By Neal Heitz

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My wife and I look forward to a special event we partake in every Holy Thursday.  It’s an old Catholic tradition to visit 7 churches on Holy Thursday. While neither of us partook in this tradition growing up, as adults we look forward to this special event every year.  Certainly the event is religious in nature but it also gives us a chance to explore our beloved Chicago a bit more intimately.  Have you ever gone past a beautiful, old church and said to yourself, “One day I will stop in and see it”? For many years we said we should check out some of this magnificent architecture and never did.

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Photo: St. Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Church

Triumph of faith: Lithuania’s awesome “Hill of Crosses”.


Lithuania’s national treasure, the Hill of Crosses, has a troubled and mysterious history. The Soviets repeatedly tried to destroy it. Now, it’s become a symbol of the nation’s struggle and spirituality.

The Hill of Crosses — a small mountain of approximately 100,000 crosses — is a curious phenomenon. No one manages or organises it — it just is. The Soviets razed it again and again, only to have the crosses reappear. As Prof Viatanis Rimkis explains: “During the struggle for our freedom, the crosses became a weapon that was invincible.”

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Christian and Muslim pilgrims gather together in Mariamabad, Pakistan – Mary’s city.

Mariamabad is about 80 km (50 miles) from Lahore, Punjab province. For more than a century it has been a Christian village.

When drought threatened crops in the area, local Catholics pleaded with Mary that she may intervene, and she did. Eventually, a Belgian Capuchin, Father Frank, who was later martyred, built a replica of Our Lady of Lourdes grotto and a church. It is now a National Marian Shrine.

Ever since, Mariamabad has been a magnet for thousands of pilgrims, including Muslims, who come to honour Mary. In more recent years, the number of young people coming has increased many arriving on foot or on their bicycles.

Link

Editor’s note: This article dates back to 2004. Conditions in Pakistan have deteriorated somewhat, since then. All the more reason for prayer.

Submitted by Doria2

Pilgrimage to Divine Mercy Chapel in Stockbridge, MA turns parish around.

A little church in a small town, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church was facing tough times. The congregation was dwindling, and Mass attendance was at an all-time low. The empty confessional was collecting dust, and donations were dismal.

But then the unthinkable happened.

Today, St. Francis Xavier is one of the most vibrant parishes in the diocese with standing-room only Masses, confessional lines, a busload of parishioners participating in the March for Life, and an abundance of freewill donations that will make them debt-free by April.

“Jesus is on the property,” said Mary Cardoza, the spark that inflamed the parish. “We are a church on fire.”

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Editor’s note: Be sure to read the personal conversion stories, at the end. They’re great!

The Shrine of Christ’s Passion – St. John, Indiana – An Easy Drive from Chicago


My good friends Jola and Carol recently made the short pilgrimage to the shrine, and they were impressed and very inspired by what they found there.

From the official website:

The Shrine of Christ’s Passion is an interactive half-mile winding pathway that begins with the Last Supper and Garden of Gethsemane. You then journey through the Passion of Christ as depicted in the Stations of the Cross.
  • The Journey consists of 40 life size bronze statues
  • Each setting has a listening station featuring the voice of veteran broadcaster Bill Kurtis. Push the button to hear a description of the scene along with a corresponding prayer
  • Background music plays throughout your journey on 180 speakers
  • The pathway is illuminated for early evening use
  • The pathway will be open year round- weather permitting
  • Over 1000 trees and bushes were planted on the site
  • More than 3000 yards of stamped concrete were poured
  • 80 semis of boulders were trucked in from central Wisconsin
  • Parking for 75 cars and 8 tour buses
  • Over 50 volunteers on staff for tour assistance
  • Site construction began in 2001

Visit the website to learn more

Mass, pilgrimage to mark 100-year anniversary of St. Padre Pio’s ordination


Benevento, Italy, Jul 22, 2010 / 03:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Eucharistic celebration marking the 100th anniversary of St. Pio of Pietrelcina’s ordination will take place in Benevento, Italy next month. A pilgrimage from the saint’s birthplace will precede the solemn celebration of the Mass.

Padre Pio was ordained in a chapel at the Cathedral of Benevento, Italy on Aug. 10, 1910 at the age of 23. This year’s celebration for the century milestone will be held on the same day, but this year Archbishop of Benevento Andrea Mugione will preside over Mass in the courtyard of the archbishop’s residence.

The Italian Bishops’ news service SIR announced the Mass to remember the unique event. On that day, young Francesco Forgione, already a Capuchin for more than seven years, was given a dispensation by the local bishop from the minimum age requirement for priestly ordination, 24 years-old, because of a serious illness.

Despite his health problems he, his mother, brother and parish priest walked to Benevento so he could receive Holy Orders.

Link

Make the Pilgrimage to Chartres, France

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The 72 mile pilgrimage from Notre Dame Cathedral to the cathedral at Chartres (arguably one of the most beautiful in the world) is a truly unique Catholic experience, which is almost totally out of place in today’s modern world.

All the more reason to “make” it!

Watch the video