Rome, Italy, 16 August 2016 -- In our Catholic tradition, the Holy Door or the " Porta Sancta"has been used since the 15th Century as a ritual expression of conversion. By passing though the Holy Door, pilgrims express a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom. The symbol of the door finds its deepest meaning in Jesus when he said: He is the door! During jubilee year, the pilgrims customarily go through the Holy Doors the four Papal Basilicas in Rome. However, there is what we call the Pilgrimage to the 7 Major Basilicas in Rome which was also an ancient tradition. Later, this was later popularized by St. Philip Neri.
On the Solemnity of the Our Lady’s Assumption, while many Romans went for the "Ferr'agosto," the missionaries-to-be-sent who are currently in Rome, Cl. Miguel Angel Condo Soto, Fr. Gabriel Cruz Trejo, Fr. Sławomir Drapiewski, Br. Jose Maria Castillo, together with Fr. Alfred Maravilla of the Missions Sector went through the ancient Christian tradition walking to all the Churches for a pilgrimage to all of the seven basilicas in Rome. The journey was approximately a 30 kilometers. They opened their Holy Year of Mercy Pilgrimage at the Basilica of St. Peter followed by the churches of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, St. Sebastian Outside the Walls, Basilica of St. John Lateran, Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls, and ended at the Basilica of St. Mary Major walking all throughout the journey.
Along the way, they also visited some important historical and religious places marking significance to the growth of our early Christian faith. With the help of Fr. Alfred, the pilgrims also reflected upon the life of early Christians, the faith journey of St. Paul, the meeting of Peter and Paul, the life and the persecution of Christians, the and some insights on missionary life/lessons by remembering past events that happened and looking into the ancient structures along the journey in between the churches. This was a tiring but inspiring pilgrimage to the roots of our faith.
The missionaries greeted Fr. Alfred who celebrated his 24th Anniversary as a Salesian Priest (15/8).
A blessed feast day of Mary Assumed into heaven and #HappyBirthdayDonBosco to all from the missionaries in Rome!