On Pilgrimage to Pray and Learn About Rebuilding the Church

St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, Rome

Beginning today, your faithful regular bloggers, Francis DeBernardo and Bob Shine, will be joining with Sister Jeannine Gramick, New Ways Ministry co-founder, 46 other travelers on a pilgrimage to Italy, under the theme “Rebuild My Church:  Pope Francis and St. Francis of Assisi.”

The group, which will be journeying to Florence, Assisi, and Rome, between February 12th and 21st, is a mixture of LGBT people, family members, pastoral ministers, and friends.  They will be visiting holy and cultural sites during the day, and in the evening reflecting together on the theme of rebuilding the church:  a goal of both Pope Francis and St. Francis.

St. Francis of Assisi

While in Italy, we will also be meeting with two different Italian Christian LGBT groups.  In Florence, we will meet with the members of Kairos, who made headlines over a year ago after they received a personal note from Pope Francis in response to their letter describing themselves and their work.   In Rome, we will meet with the members of Nuova Proposta, a group which was instrumental in preparing last year’s “Ways of Love” international theological conference preceding the synod.

We will also be connecting with a pilgrimage of Catholic LGBT people from London, England, who will be in Rome during the same week that we are.  We look forward to fellowship and prayer with these folks as we journey in the Eternal City.

Michelangelo’s “David” in Florence

As we mentioned in a previous post, we are praying that Pope Francis will respond to Sister Jeannine’s personal request that he meet with our group of pilgrims when we are in Rome.

Please keep that intention in your prayers, as well as praying for our pilgrimage’s spiritual success.

One reason we are letting you know about this event is that the vagaries of travel may occasionally hinder the production of blog posts.  We intend to continue posting everyday, but we can’t guarantee that posts will be available at the same time they always do.  So, if there is a glitch of any kind, please understand that we will be trying our best to get stuff out to you.

Depending on both the news cycle and what we may encounter during our trip, some posts may be about some of the places and ideas that we are experiencing.  Of course, if we do get to meet with Pope Francis, you will hear about it here first!

Pope Francis

Last year, when we made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we had a few posts about some of the events we encountered.  You can view them here and here.   If you would like information about future pilgrimages, please send an email request, containing your postal address to [email protected].

As we travel and pray in Italy on the theme of rebuilding the church, we will be carrying in our hearts and minds all our blog readers and New Ways Ministry supporters–the people who work faithfully every day to rebuild the church!

–Francis DeBernardo and Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

[Editor’s Note:  A “News Notes” post will follow this afternoon.]

13 replies
  1. Bob
    Bob says:

    May God bless you and keep you safe during this pilgrimage! I’m looking forward to reading about your journey and, I hope and pray, about your visit with Pope Francis.

  2. James Robert Green
    James Robert Green says:

    Frank, this all sounds familiar. We wish you the blessings of the Spirit as you go forward on your journey. Out love to all. We will be celebrating 45 years together with other couples on March 14th. We’ll Also be thinking of New Ways Ministry and all the help we received from Bob and Jeannine over the Years; as well as from you Frank, and your capable staff. Jim & Bill


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