For an opportunity to truly walk where saints have walked, there is no better place than Rome to visit. You can have just such an opportunity to visit Rome with other members of the Mary, Mother of the Church Area Catholic Community (ACC) this coming spring, from March 1-10, with an extension package that includes three extra days of traveling. Fr. Aaron Kuhn will lead the pilgrimage with his brother, Fr. Matthew Kuhn.
This will be Fr. Aaron’s third time leading a pilgrimage to Rome — he has previously led two pilgrimages to the Holy Land. About 30 to 40 members of the ACC will be able to go on this pilgrimage. Signups for the pilgrimage will end on Dec. 31, 2023, with the final payment due then.
“People should attend the pilgrimage because it will help change their perspective on the closeness of the Church to our personal lives,” Fr. Aaron says.
Fr. Aaron looks forward to this pilgrimage as he has gotten closer to the saints with each visit to Rome. Many saints lived in Rome, and many others have visited over time.
“I feel connected to them and look forward to seeing them face to face in heaven someday,” he says.
Rome is where the capital of the Roman Empire once rested, and Vatican City is the pope’s official residence. In Rome, there are over 400 churches and ancient historical venues of human civilization, from the Roman Forum and Coliseum to the Pantheon. This pilgrimage also includes a visit to Assisi, home to St. Francis and St. Claire, and Orvieto, where the linen of the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena is kept.
“The purpose of a pilgrimage is to grow in our Catholic faith by experiencing the sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the places where saints have gone before us,” Fr. Aaron says. “It is the meeting ground of faith and history through the lived experience of the saints, of which we are able to learn about their lives and how the faith has been lived throughout the history of the sites we visit.”
Those participating in the extension package will also visit Siena, the birthplace of St. Catherine, and Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Fr. Aaron sees this trip as a benefit to the ACC because it connects pilgrims to the heart of the Catholic Church. A pilgrimage is not like a vacation — it’s more like a retreat.
“It provides insights into the life of God and the Church for us to reflect upon in our lived experience,” Fr. Aaron says. “It ties us together across generations and locations. It brings us close to those things we might otherwise feel are far away from us.”
Contact the parish office at 218-631-1593 to learn more about the pilgrimage or visit www.versoministries.com/departures/fr-kuhn-italy-pilgrimage-march-2024. Fr. Aaron is open to leading more pilgrimages in the future if parishioners are interested.