Pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Messina, and Padova.
Twelve confreres of St. Matthew Province had a pilgrimage in Rome, Assisi, Messina and Padova on October 26 - November 9, 2019, as part of their ongoing formation, coordinated by Fr. Jose Maria Ezpeleta, Councilor General in charge of Religious Life and Formation. The group of young Rogationist priests, called Wildmen, are in their 5th - 10th year of priesthood.
(Here's the chronicle of Fr. Ruel Desamparado, RCJ)
Day One (Oct. 26): Journeying back HOME drives excitement!
Everyone finally stepped on the Eternal City of Rome. A dream fulfilled with a heart filled with happiness. Home sweet Rome. These 'Wildmen' have their own way of journeying back home. Smiles will tell it so. Their brotherhood inspires them to raise the flag of the Rogate and their excitement gives the gift of priesthood a new energy. Our pilgrim journey retraces every footsteps that made us to who we are now!
Fr. Jose Maria Ezpeleta officiated the Holy Mass in the chapel of our Theologate. The first day was all spent walking down the roads that lead to the Basilicas of St. John Lateran and Mary Major.
Day Two (Oct. 27): Witnessing bleeds Blood and Love!
With a recharged energy, the group headed to the Catacombs of St. Calixtus on the Appian Way, one of the oldest road of Rome. It was a peaceful and cold morning walk. Walking together with our brother priests makes the walk more serene and yet happier. Where are you going, Lord? This walk leads to more witnessing that would certainly bleed more blood of sacrifices and love that knows no bound.
Fr. Arlene officiated the Holy Mass in one of the chapels under the Catacombs! It was a very meaningful and touching moment of thanking the blood and love of all Christians buried there because of their FAITH.
Day Three (Oct. 28): Keep on praying and be sent!
Being at the heart of Christianity is truly a blessing and a lifetime opportunity. Finally, we are here!, exclaimed by most of us. Joyfully, we celebrated the Holy Mass in the crypt where the first Pope, St. Peter, and most Popes are buried including Pope Paul VI, the Pope of the World Day Prayer for Vocations. No tears though but inner happiness that would fuel these 'Wildmen' to continue their MISSION. We prayed and still willing to be SENT!
Our Provincial Superior, Fr. Orville Cajigal, RCJ officiated while Fr. Ulrich Gacayan, RCJ, our Provincial Councilor delivered a challenging homily. We are truly at HOME. The whole day was spent strolling, eating, taking pictures and enjoying our ROGATE Brotherhood.
All Saints of God, pray for us!
Day Four (Oct. 29): Freedom with God leads to real PEACE!
Assisi, the City of Peace! A long and winding road that leads us to these loving saints of spiritual reformation, St. Francis and St. Clare. Truly we acclaim, Brother Sun and Sister Moon, here we are and embrace us with the warmth of God's embrace! Beautiful and massive Churches that tell so many stories of journeying souls. Our pilgrim brothers just kept on staring up! To God be the glory for everything. Be free with God and all will be possible. PAX ET BONUM!
Fr. Jose Maria Ezpeleta narrated to us the detailed life of St. Francis, St. Clare and the history of the Franciscan Family. Late in the afternoon, all of us concelebrated during the Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Assisi where the Tombs of St. Francis and his first Four Companions are located! After a good and long day, we went home bringing Peace to everyone.
Day Five (Oct. 30): Thank You. Sorry. I Love You.
Beautiful words to start the day from Pope Francis that were reechoed by Fr. Dante during the Holy Mass. Be strengthened by these words and our journey will be more meaningful. From Rome to Messina will be another journey of faith. Pupunta kami sa lugar ng aming Ama sa Rogate. Nang dahil sa kanya, nagkaroon kami ng Ugnayang Rogate. We are on the way to the place of our Father in the Rogate. Because of him, we have the link of the Rogate. This would be a long ride by Trenitalia to Messina.
Day Six (Oct. 31): Behind every weakness, see the Gift of God in your life!
Sanctity is for all of us! St. Hannibal is showing us the way to holiness. Walking on the streets and bringing the poor to Christ. Our Avignones are our roads to Holiness. Fall in love with Jesus Christ despite of everything. If we have Whys, we can do the Hows! The ROGATE becomes our Why and our varied ministry is our How. 150 years ago, the inspiration of the ROGATE started and it will surely last.
The 'Wildmen' pilgrim walked the whole day in the very footsteps of St. Hannibal in the streets of Messina. Surely, St. Hannibal is happy seeing his sons visiting him. A beautiful Holy Mass was celebrated on the crypt where his mortal remains lie. Reuniting ourselves with Father Founder. Other Churches were also visited. This day concluded with the Adoration for Vocations in the Church of St. John of Malta where as a youth, St. Hannibal received this noble intuition!
Keyword: GIFT OF VOCATION!
Day Seven (Nov. 1): Fidelity equals Holiness!
Fr. Ezpeleta brought the group in the Church of Our Lady of Montalto in the morning. That was the Church where St. John Paul II viewed Messina, the Port City. The scenic beauty of Messina gave so much happiness to everyone.
Another walk of the day going to the resting place of the departed faithful of Messina. Uniti in Vita. Uniti in Morte. The 'Wildmen' pilgrim visited our departed confreres, some of them are our formators and Novice Master, Fr. Gaspare Gallitto, rcj. At around 11:00 am, the 'Wildmen' pilgrim celebrated the Holy Mass with the Filipino Catholic Community of Messina. B.A.N.A.L. Fr. King Cena passionately delivered points on that acronym. Lunch was served later with the community. All of us enjoyed eating the Filipino and Italian food with good songs offered by everyone. Maraming Salamat sa lahat!
Keywords: HOLINESS and FIDELITY!
Day Eight (Nov. 2): With Our Lady of La Guadia,St. Hannibal guards us from HEAVEN!
To commemorate the All Souls' Day, the 'Wildmen' group visited the Daughter of the Divine Zeal in La Guardia and prayed in the room where St. Hannibal breathed his last on June 1, 1927 at 6:30 am. St. Hannibal's entry to heaven is a great grace for all his sons and daughters. This day we thanked him for that. Each one spent moments of silence and reflection and walking on the road that St. Hannibal once walked on. An hour of Eucharistic Adoration was also spent. And, a good lunch was served for everyone. Thanks to our beloved FDZ Sisters.
The group then proceeded to Taormina, another FDZ Community whom St. Hannibal frequently visited. The group spent some moments in the Ancient Greek Theater and walked on the streets of Taormina. Fr. Santos who is celebrating his 38th Birthday today presided over the Holy Mass in the main Church: the Church of St. Anthony of Padua. He thanked God for this once in a lifetime opportunity of celebrating on the altar where St. Hannibal also celebrated. He reflected later on this acronym: G.I.F.T.! The FDZ Sisters offered a delicious Italian snacks and everybody had their fill. Salamat Sisters.
Day Nine (Nov. 3): Be in harmony with everyone and you will be at HOME!
Time catches us in time. Everyone was in a hurry to freshen up quickly at the General Curia, and catch the train for Padova. After that three hours travel, Fr. Carmelo Capizzi, RCJ fetched us in the station and the community offered us a delicious Italian lunch. The group had a two-hour siesta before celebrating the Holy Mass at 5:00pm in the Chapel of the Province. Fr. Ruel, the presider, shared his journey back H.O.M.E. Harmony Of Men and Environment (Eucharist)!
The night was all spent walking down the streets of Padova. Before dinner, Fr. Ezpeleta guided the group towards the Church of Arcella where St. Anthony spent the last moments of his earthly life. The group also had the chance to see the incorrupt body of Blessed Elena Enselmini, 'the first flower of Padua'. After dinner with the community, the group went to the center of the City and seeing its beauty at night.
Day Ten (Nov. 4): Those who love less, forgive less!
A sentierro-walk to the Sanctuary of the Wallnuts from the Cella della Visione Church highlighted the morning in Camposampiero. Fr. Ezpeleta explained the important details in the life of St. Anthony.
In the afternoon after the Holy Mass which was presided by Fr. Rey, the group first visited the Basilica of the Saint (referring to St. Anthony) and spent some time to admire its art and frescoes, to pray in front of the tomb of St. Anthony, to see the Relics of the saints, and offered their individual prayers. Late in the afternoon, the group walked through the classic streets of the city of Padova.
Day Eleven (Nov. 5): Works of Art last because of Passion and LOVE!
The day started with a morning prayer in the chapel of the Province. The group then headed to the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padova and toured around the Museum of St. Anthony. It was an enriching moment. By 11:00 am, the group had their concelebrated Mass in the main altar of the Basilica. It was a once in a lifetime moment. Salamat sa Diyos! Thanks be to God.
In the afternoon, Fr. Ezpeleta brought us in the Scrovegni Chapel to contemplate Giotto's Frescos, and marvel at the work of art in the nearby museum. The frescoes are beautiful and realistic depictions on the life of Jesus, Mary and our Christian life. It is on our free will that we can choose either to be good or to be evil. The rainfall did not stop the group in appreciating the numerous works of Art in the Museum of Padova. The University of Padua is the sixth oldest University in the world, was founded in 1222. It is truly a worthy visit in this University where Galileo Galilei taught and Copernicus once studied. Our day ended in the Caffé Pedrocchi where each one is feeling like philosophers of old!
After dinner, the group gathered for a sharing of spiritual enrichment after the visit to the holy places in Rome, Messina and Padova. Each one shared not only his impression but also resolutions to accomplish after this pilgrimage.
Keyword: SACRED GIFT - SACERDOS!
Bro. Christian Allan R. De Sagun, RCJ