With one last post, we bid a final farewell to Italy and wrap up our coverage of the Confraternity of St. Peter’s 30th Anniversary pilgrimage. On our last day, we drove to the city of Naples on the other side of the Bay, where we visited the Cathedral of Naples, dedicated to St. Januarius, or as the Neapolitans say, San Gennaro, the patron of the city. His blood, like that of St. Panteleon who was martyred about the same time and during the same persecution, miraculously liquefies every year on his feast day, as well as two other occasions during the year. The pilgrims venerated the bones of the saint that reside in a crypt underneath the high altar, and his blood and the bones of his skull that are kept in a side chapel. We had the great privilege of celebrating a sung Mass at an altar to the right of the main altar, near the tomb of St. Aspreno, the first bishop of Naples. As the ancient Mass was offered within the medieval cathedral and the chant drifted through its vast confines, inquisitive visitors joined us, drawn perhaps by the sound of the singing and by the sight of this beautiful liturgy that many of them may have been observing for the first time.
Afterwards we made our way to the church of Gesù Nuovo, where the pilgrims visited the tomb of St. Giuseppe Moscati, the “holy physician of Naples”. St. Giuseppe was a doctor who worked in Naples in the early 1900s and was renowned for his piety, his devotion to his patients and his remarkable skill.
Our final stop was the shrine of St. Philomena at Mugnano del Cardinale, a small town east of Naples. We were graciously welcomed by the rector of the shrine, and a Scottish volunteer told us a great deal about its history and how St. Philomena had come there. St. Philomena’s story is unique in that she was not known until 1802, when her grave was discovered in one of the Roman catacombs. Her remains were moved to Mugnano del Cardinale a few years later, and miracles began to take place, including the healing of the Venerable Pauline Jaricot.
That evening we returned to Rome and gathered for a final farewell dinner at our hotel in Fiumicino, where the Tiber flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Though the week had gone by far too quickly, we flew home the next morning with grateful hearts, new friends and a trove of memories of a grace-filled pilgrimage.
Thank you for taking the journey with us and supporting us with your prayers, and be assured we were praying for your intentions as well. Here’s a last round of pictures from our trip – including the beautiful images from our Solemn Mass of thanksgiving at Santissima Trinità in Rome on October 18th.
30th Anniversary Mass with Superior General
Cathedral of Naples
Gesù Nuovo – Tomb of St. Giuseppe Moscati
Shrine of St. Philomena
November 6, 2018