The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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September 15, 2000 Issue
Jubilee 2000
Open Wide the Doors

Jubilee inspires pilgrimages

Whether its Rome, Holy Land or in the diocese, pilgrims can find graces

By John Woods

Many Catholics are setting aside time this year to make pilgrimages to world's most popular religious sites and shrines.

The Green Bay Diocese, for example, sponsored a special Jubilee Year pilgrimage to Rome in June led by Bp. Robert Banks. Nearly 200 pilgrims from the diocese took part.

In addition, Bp. Banks earlier this year designated 10 pilgrimage churches in the diocese and encouraged Catholics to visit them.

While at any pilgrimage site, the pilgrim may gain a plenary indulgence by reciting the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles or Nicene Creed and a prayer for the Holy Father.

People may undertake a pilgrimage for many reasons: in thanksgiving, to seek forgiveness, in petition, but especially to renew their relationship with God.

What religious sites do Catholic travelers favor?

The Holy Land and Rome top the list for American Catholics.

A typical 13-day Holy Land pilgrimage includes stops in Tel Aviv; Cana, the site of Jesus's first miracle; Tabgha, where he multiplied the loaves and fishes; and the Tomb of Our Lady; and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Trips usually include visits to Rome and Assisi in Italy.

Catholics pick Rome, travel agents say, because it is the center of the church and because there are more than 600 churches to see. "You could spend a lifetime in Rome and not see everything," one agent said.

Rome pilgrimages include a papal audience at the Vatican; Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and a visit to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

Almost all who visit Rome make the 2 hour trip to Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clare. Another popular site in Italy is Monte Cassino, south of Rome, a mountaintop abbey that was home to St. Benedict of Nirsia, founder of the monastic way of life.

With some 3,200 religious shrines, Western Europe attracts many Catholic pilgrims from the U.S., which has just 250.

France offers a lot of church history. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and the shrine where Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Laboure to promote devotion to the Miraculous Medal.

More than 5 million pilgrims each year visit Lourdes, where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette, and the shrine's healing waters attract the infirm from the world over.

The largest Marian shrine in the world, Fatima in Portugal, remains popular with Americans. The grounds surrounding the church can hold more than one million visitors.

In Poland, the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, with its famed image of the Black Madonna, is a place of journey for hundreds of thousands of Poles and non-Poles. Another popular Eastern European venue is Medjugorje, in the former Yugoslavia, although the alleged Marian apparitions there have not been officially approved by the Vatican.

Then there's the most visited Marian shrine in the world, Our Lady of Guadalupe, 30 minutes from downtown Mexico City.

In the U.S., the 21 Franciscan missions in California - from San Diego to San Francisco - are popular. Also popular are the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and the Mother Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg, Md., dedicated to the first American-born saint.

Pilgrimage churches

The ten designated pilgrimage churches in the Green Bay diocese are:

-- St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay;
-- Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help, Robinsonville;
-- St. Mary of the Lake, Lakewood;
-- Sacred Heart, Shawano;
-- Holy Trinity (St. Joseph site), Oconto;
-- St. Mary Magdalene, Waupaca;
-- St. Joseph, Sturgeon Bay;
-- St. Mary of the Seven Dolors, Appleton;
-- St. Mary, Oshkosh;
-- St. Boniface, Manitowoc.

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