Reunion for Rome young pilgrims

In March we had our Reunion for the young pilgrims who went to Rome last October. Josh reflects on the pilgrimage.  

In October of 2023 we as a diocese had the privilege of leading a youth pilgrimage to the geographical and spiritual heart of our Catholic faith: Rome!

The trip was a great success! We visited various different churches and followed in the footsteps of the martyrs of the faith as we navigated the eternal city. Initially, we planned for the trip to be one of prayer and formation for our young people to become leaders within their own parish communities as well as at a diocesan level. What we found is that in Rome, we encounter the martyrs who showed their servant leadership through their witness; ultimately through the biggest sacrifice.

A highlight which resonated particularly with our young people was when we visited the catacombs on the outskirts of Rome. Here, we encountered the witness of faith where the martyrs and faithful were exiled for being practising Christians. Reflecting upon this, the young people were led to think about how they bear authentic witness within their school communities or in the general population. Inspired by the reoccurring theme of a ‘white martyrdom’, we prayed about the earthly things we exchange in order to live for the heavenly things that we are blessed in this life to have, and, too, the ones yet to come.

An important element of the trip was to give opportunity to the young people to socialise and build good, faith-filled friendships and fellowship. Through the sharing of meals and social time in the city, conversations flourished about what we can do back home to show the authentic happiness our faith gives us to others. It turns out that gelato is a great facilitator of idea inducing conversation!

We had the pleasure of having,  Fr  Henry Woodhouse of St. Peter’s, Doncaster, and Sr. Mary-John FDC, who is a sister of the Congregation of Daughters of Divine Charity in Chesterfield, assisting the leading of our pilgrimage. Together, we shared in the Eucharist every day, as well as stopping throughout the pilgrimage to pray the Angelus, signalled by the stunning chimes of the bells across the city. This gave us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the need to stop, not just throughout the day, but in many periods of life to recollect oneself and be able to serve in a capacity where all things ultimately come from God.

Prayer, formation, and fellowship were all elements that made this pilgrimage highly successful and ultimately faith-filled. In our recent reunion, it was great to catch up and hear the fruits of the trip months since we departed Rome. Together we shared what we enjoyed (where there was a lot of mention of the Italian cuisine), but also how we can improve the trip for this year and beyond.

This is a great opportunity for young people who want to develop in their parish leadership and meet others who share in our Catholic faith. If you are in the age bracket specified for this pilgrimage and want to come along this year, do not hesitate to apply when the sign up form is available – you won’t want to miss it! Alla Prossima! Josh Glicklich