Rebuild My Church: Pope Francis and St. Francis

An LGBT-friendly pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, & Florence with Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL
February 12-21, 2015

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Thursday, February 12th

This evening we depart JFK airport in New York on our overnight flight to Florence, via Paris.

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Duomo, Florence

Friday, February 13th

FLORENCE – Upon arrival in Florence, we settle into the Grant Hotel Mediterraneo. In the afternoon, we have a panoramic view of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Santa Croce. Here lie Galileo, Rossini, Michelangelo, and Macchiaveli. Dinner at hotel. We gather briefly after dinner for prayer and introductions of old and new friends.

Saturday, February 14th

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Portiuncula, Assisi

FLORENCE – Today we see the highlights of Florence, jewel of the Renaissance. We celebrate Mass at San Marco, visit the home of the Dominican friar Savonarola, and see the paintings of Fra Angelico. We visit the Academy and see Michelangelo’s magnifi-cent David. Next we visit the Medici Chapels at the Church of San Lorenzo to see the tombs designed and executed by Mi-chelangelo. We see the magnificent Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its incomparable bronze doors by Ghi-berti. We enjoy the sights of the Piazza della Repubblica and the Piazza della Si-gnoria, dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio and its embattlement-crowned tower. Across from the Palace, we visit the Loggia de Lanzi with the Renaissance statues of Perseus by Cellini, Hercules, and The Rape of the Sabine Women. After dinner at the hotel, we will meet members of Kairos, a Catholic LGBT group in Florence.

Sunday, February 15th

FLORENCE & ASSISI – Today we visit the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace, and Ponte Vecchio. This afternoon, we journey through the Perugian countryside to Assisi, where we celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. We then proceed to the hilltop village of Assisi, the home of St. Francis, for dinner and overnight at the Hotel San Pietro.

Monday, February 16th

ASSISI – After Mass at St. Francis’ tomb in the Basilica of San Francesco, we take a walking tour of Assisi and visit the Church of St. Clare and view the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis. In the lower town, we tour the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Portiuncula, Francis’ Church of the Little Portion. This afternoon we enjoy this picturesque hillside village on our own.

Tuesday, February 17th

ROME – This morning we depart Assisi and travel south to Rome, where we tour the sites, including the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. We see the Pantheon, the Church of St. Peter in Chains to view Michelangelo’s sculpture, Moses. Time permitting, we visit the Church of the Gesu, Pope Francis’ Jesuit Church in Rome, which wel-comed and sponsored a funeral for a transgender woman who was murdered in Rome in December 2013. We tour one of Rome’s four major Churches, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and celebrate Mass here. After dinner at the Hotel Pacific, we meet with members of Nuova Proposta and La Sorgente, Catholic LGBT groups in Rome.

Wednesday, February 18th

ROME – Today we make our way to St. Peter’s for an audience with Pope Francis, if he is in residence. This afternoon we visit the catacomb of St. Priscilla which contains many frescos of women, some of whom are said to be celebrating the Eucharist. We celebrate Eucharist here in the catacomb as did the early Christians. We have a free afternoon to relax or explore the city, with dinner on our own.

Thursday, February 19th

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Mosaic of Episcopa Theodora

ROME – This morning after Mass, we tour St. Peter’s Basilica and view its wonders, including The Pieta and Bernini’s columns above the traditional burial site of St. Peter at the high altar. We then see the treasures of the Vatican Museum, including Michelangelo’s restored frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. After dinner at the hotel, we meet for reflection on the pilgrimage.

Friday, February 20th

ROME – Today we visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the nearby Holy Stairs, reputedly brought to Rome from Jerusalem by St. Helena in the fourth century. According to tradition, these are the steps that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate on which Jesus stepped on his way to trial during his Passion. We visit the church of St. Praxedes, which contains a mosaic of Episcopa Theodora, suggesting that women were ordained in the early Church. We conclude with Mass at St. Mary Major and gather after dinner for some farewell remarks.

Saturday, February 21st

USA – We leave Rome to return home with memories of the “two Francis’s” and thoughts about how to rebuild our Church.