Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Faith Seeking Understanding for November 5, 2006

Back from Italy!

All of our pilgrims safely returned from a very blessed journey to Assisi, San Giovanni Rotondo, and Rome. Personally, I had an incredible time, and received countless graces and blessings that will take quite a while to reflect upon and understand. Thank you so much for all of your prayers while we were gone; we placed your petitions on or near the altars upon which we celebrated the Holy Mass each day, and kept you in our thoughts and prayers throughout the pilgrimage.

I had not returned to Italy since my ordination, so the opportunity to celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, the church where St. Pio celebrated for many years, and St. Peter’s Basilica was nearly overwhelming. Celebrating Mass at these holy places was certainly a highlight for me, but God had many other graces in store for us as well.

Upon arrival in Assisi, we visited the Portiuncula chapel at Saint Mary of the Angels and celebrated Mass. The Portiuncula was one of the churches physically rebuilt by St. Francis, and is very near the place he died. The following day we visited his tomb, and explored Assisi, seeing the tomb of St. Clare and wandering through the quiet, peaceful medieval town.

From there, it was on to San Giovanni Rotondo, via the important shrines of Loreto (the Holy House of Nazareth) and Lanciano. Lanciano is home to an extraordinary Eucharistic Miracle: in the 8th century, after the Consecration of the bread and wine, the host visibly turned to human flesh, and the wine, to human blood. Since that time, the miracle has been kept for pilgrims to venerate, and in the 1970’s, scientific tests revealed that the host was actually a slice of human heart muscle, matching the blood-type of the coagulated blood. This miracle is a profound testimony to the reality of the Eucharistic Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Pio’s shrine was crowded with pilgrims, but we were blessed to speak with a friar who had known Padre Pio for several years before his death. After hearing about Padre Pio’s extraordinary and miraculous life, he asked me to bless our pilgrims with a glove Padre Pio had used to cover the wounds in his hands from the stigmata. This was entirely unexpected, and very moving for all of us.

We then visited the nearby Monte Sant’Angelo, where St. Michael the Archangel has appeared several times. We then had to endure the long drive back to Rome, where we arrived just in time to eat a marvelous dinner and collapse into bed. Next week, I’ll share a few photos and stories from the Rome portion of our pilgrimage, and then we’ll return to the Fathers of the Church.

May God bless you all!