The heart of a Roman pilgrimage is a tour of the four great basilicas. In the Jubilee year 1300, Pope Boniface designated the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul as pilgrim churches to commemorate the two great founders of the Church of Rome. In subsequent years, the basilicas of St. John Lantern and St. Mary Major were added and today they offer a journey through the story of salvation and the spread of the Gospel in art, architecture and monuments. In A Pilgrims Guide to Rome and the Holy Land, we learn “the wealth of [this] deposit of the faith is made present and available to the pilgrim who journeys through the streets, squares, churches, and catacombs of Rome in search of deeper faith, hope, charity and conversion of life.” (A Pilgrims Guide to Rome and the Holy Land, pg. 173). The Archdiocese of Washington pilgrims are celebrating this liturgical memorial by visiting these four churches.
Read: Matthew 14:22-33
Reflect: Cardinal-designate Wuerl challenged pilgrims to think about thier responsibilities as evangelizers. In his homily at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, he said all of us should have the the evangelical zeal of Paul to bring the faith to all. Eeach of us is called to be an evangelist for the faith in these times–inviting others (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors) to or back to the faith with the same zeal as Paul.
Respond: Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of faith and the Roman Catholic Church in your life and the life of the world.