Basilian Bicentennial Pilgrimage Updates
Five members exercising leadership in the Basilian Fathers, including me, had the privilege of making a pilgrimage to France and Rome in June in celebration of the Bicentennial of the Basilians, which were founded by ten diocesan priests who were teaching in a school in Annonay in the Ardèche region of France.
On Pentecost Sunday, we gathered in the chapel of the College Sacré Coeur in Annonay for a Mass with the local bishop. It was particularly moving to be celebrating where the Basilians not only had their origins but also had taught and served for so many years. We also travelled around the Ardèche to different sites where the Basilians had been, including the Church of Saint-Basile, which contributed to our choice of St. Basil as our patron. As I was celebrating Mass at Saint-Basile, I was praying in a special way for all the people of St. Basil’s, Toronto, our first parish in Canada.
After a memorable time in France, we flew to Rome to continue our pilgrimage. The Basilian Bicentennial Pilgrimage Updates highlight there was having a private audience with Pope Francis. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face from the moment we entered the Apostolic Palace, to Pope Francis’ greeting each of us individually, and throughout our ten minute visit with him! At the end of the conversation, we asked for his blessing upon the Basilian Fathers on their bicentennial. The best way I can describe the experience is that it was “surreal”.
Those are just a few of the memories I shall treasure. We also enjoyed many long, delicious meals, excellent weather, and smooth travel. I even had a chance to visit with Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa, who live in Italy and whom many of you would know from the parish.
I give God thanks for all these experiences. Please pray for the Basilian Fathers that we may continue to serve God faithfully for however many more years God invites us to serve the People of God.
For additional information about the pilgrimage, check out the recent article in the Catholic Register: