GNT hosts pilgrimage of Pittsburgh churches


Last Saturday saw Franciscan students attending a pilgrimage of churches all around the city of Pittsburgh.

Eleven students attended the event, which was put on by Franciscan University’s Graduate/Non-Traditional (GNT) Outreach program. Graduate student Brendan Bosank, coordinator for the GNT, said that he hoped the event would be a spiritual and fun activity for both graduate and undergraduate students.

“Campus life can be so busy that sometimes it become important to just set a day aside and devote it to our spiritual life,” said Bosank.

Students visited four notable churches, beginning with St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, one of the oldest in Pittsburgh. Among the church’s notable features were its architecture and its possession of a kneeler used by Pope Saint John Paul II when he visited St. Stanislaus as the Archbishop of Krakow in 1989.  Freshman Maria Castello said that, upon entering, she was “in awe, just by the grandeur and beauty of the church.”

After breaking for lunch, the pilgrims visited St. Patrick’s, where they participated in the devotional exercise of ascending the Holy Stairs located in the church. This involved climbing up twenty-eight stairs to the altar, with the pilgrims saying a short prayer at each step to reflect on the Passion and Death of Jesus.

Graduate student Tom Hornbeck said that as someone who is participating in the campus-wide “33 Days to Merciful Love” consecration, this allowed him to enter his consecration more deeply.

The group then traveled to St. Anthony’s Chapel, home of the largest relic collection in the world with more than five thousand relics. Sophomore Chloe Batara was in a state of awe to be in the presence of so many relics.

“I was overwhelmed by the number of saints housed in St. Anthony’s and I think it serves as a great reminder that these holy men and women are continually interceding for us,” said Batara.

Included among the relics in St. Anthony’s, most of which were collected by the chapel’s founder, the Rev. Suitbert Mollinger, are pieces of the True Cross, the Crown of Thorns, as well as relics of several early Church Fathers and martyrs.

The group ended its journey with the celebration of Mass at St. Mary of the Mount Church.

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