Ninety parishioners from the Diocese of Harrisburg are on pilgrimage with Bishop Ronald Gainer in Italy, Austria and Germany this month.
The pilgrims have visited historic churches in Italy and Austria thus far, including the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, the Shroud of Turin, the church in Milan where Leonardo da Vinci painted the Last Supper, Lake Garda and the Wilten Basilica in Innsbruck.
The 12-day pilgrimage, September 9-20, explores traditions of the faith in various churches, chapels and shrines. During their time in Germany, pilgrims will attend the world-renowned Oberammergau Passion Play, Oktoberfest in Munich and dinner at the Hofbrauhaus.
The once-in-a-lifetime experience is a fundraiser for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg.
Nicole Nirosky, a pilgrim from York, shared stunning photos and her impressions of the first days of the spiritual experience.
“I have been to Europe several times in my life, but being able to celebrate Mass with the bishop in these sacred and holy places is so moving, special and refreshing for my soul,” she told The Catholic Witness. “The value held in Catholic traditions and the years of history that have remained so sacred in Europe remind us all of how powerful the peace that passes understanding can be, even centuries later.”
Nirosky, who is traveling with her mother and several friends from the Diocese, said “The fellowship and the gathering of others that share our faith yet offer different backgrounds and experiences has led us all to spiritual growth in just a few short days. I’m looking forward to what is to come!”
(Photos courtesy of Nicole Nirosky.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness