Assisi: Walking in the footsteps of Francis and Clare
ASSISI, Italy — After logging a good 50 miles today all around Assisi on two separate tours, I can tell you that walking in the footsteps of Sts. Francis and Clare is no easy feat (no pun intended).
It's hard to put into words the sense of timelessness that this city has. You see cars, motorbikes and discreet traffic signs, but there is so much pedestrian traffic down the main cobbled streets that you lose yourself in time whenever you gaze up at the medieval architecture.
As we began our day with Mass at the Basilica of St. Clare, we were transformed by salvific grace in the reception of the Eucharist in the tiny chapel off the main nave. We all squeezed in, lining the walls and taking every available seat.
Father Christopher Roux was the main celebrant at Mass, and he shared the story of how the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration came to live in the Diocese of Charlotte and how God's divine providence had acted in their lives and how their hidden life of prayer and obedience is a great grace for the people of our diocese and the world.
When we toured the basilica, admiring the architecture and stopping to pray in front of the tomb of St. Clare, it was an experience that left us in awe. We were moved by God's grace in how he worked in St. Clare's life and how she left a life of comfort for one of poverty to serve Him.
The Basilica of St. Francis also proved to be a memorable spiritual experience, but this basilica is a bit more grand, with large frescoes and a crypt church that is conducive to prayer with its many altars and pews.
We later boarded vans to take the short ride down the mountain to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, which stands apart from all the other buildings due to its sheer size and also its architecture. The gold statue of Our Lady of the Angels beckons from atop the church.
Once inside, it is a feast of the eyes with painting after painting and altar after altar.
The Porziuncola in the center of the church is a little oasis that is placed in the middle of an already breathtaking basilica. Father Roux led us in prayer there before we toured the rest of the church and saw the very spot where St. Francis died.
Later in the evening, we enjoyed an authentic Italian dinner at an out-of-the-way restaurant tucked into the hills of Assisi. We offered a toast to all of our bishops, family and friends back home.
On Saturday, we are off to Siena after celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis ... more footsteps to follow.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Photo carousel will auto rotate. Click on image to advance to that photo or enlarge.
Catholic advocates urge fairness as House readies farm bill voteWASHINGTON, D.C. — Catholic leaders are urging Catholics nationwide to call their representatives in the House and ask for a farm bill that does not make deep cuts into food assistance programs both here and abroad. "The bill reported by...
Obama threatens veto as fetal pain bill passes HouseWASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite passing the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy faces an uncertain future as President Obama's administration has suggested that he will veto it. "(S)cience is...
Obama nominates retired CRS president as U.S. ambassador to VaticanWASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama June 14 nominated Ken Hackett, retired president of Catholic Relief Services, to be U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Obama's announcement about Hackett came late in the day, along with his nominees...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
- Conflicts among Christians harm the body of Christ, pope says
- Priest assignment list for 2013 coming soon; seminarian summer duties released
- St. Vincent de Paul breaks ground on ministry center, chapel
- 'Nuns on the Bus' rally for immigration reform during stop in Charlotte
- Father Kauth earns doctorate, takes published thesis to Rome