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Diary of #CDOW150th: Following the footsteps of Christ

Bishop Malooly
Holy Cross parishioners pose with Bishop Malooly at the Basilica of St Clement in Rome.

TheDialog.org is following the #CDOW150th as 135 people travel for a pilgrimage to France and Rome to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Diocese of Wilmington.

DESTINATION (Day Six): Today we had early Mass at the 12th century Basilica of St. Clement in Rome. This church has a special meaning for our bishop since it was the Titular Church of Cardinal Lawrence Shehan, who,  as Archbishop of Baltimore in 1970, called Bishop Malooly to Holy Orders.

HIGHLIGHTS: After Mass, pilgrims ventured down a flight of stairs for a tour of the excavations of the 4th century Basilica on which the 12th century church was built; and yet further down to see the 1st century Roman home that lies beneath the original Basilica.

The next stop was the beautiful Cathedral of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran and the adjacent Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs. According to tradition, St Helena had the 28 marble steps transported from Pontius Pilot’s palace in Jerusalem to Rome. It is believed that Jesus climbed these stairs several times on the day of his death. Pilgrims from around the world climb the stairs on their knees as a sign of penance.

Following some free hours in the afternoon, the pilgrims met for dinner at a Rome restaurant.

The altar at St John Lateran in Rome.

TODAY’S QUOTES: “We journeyed back in time. We saw one of the earliest Catholic Church’s, St. John Lateran. The architecture in Baroch and Gothic style is amazing. We saw sculptures of the apostles surrounding the interior walls of the church. We were witnesses of beauty only God Himself could create by guiding the hands of artisans, artists and craftsmen of the time.”

— Stephanie Eberhardt, Holy Cross Parish, Dover

“It was an experience of penance, 28 steps for Christ in faith, prayer and humility. Also we had a wonderful sightseeing adventure in Rome, sharing experiences with our new friends in Christ.”

— Chris Eberhardt, Holy Cross, Dover

“I had the extraordinary privilege to climb the Holy Stairs rather than mounting them on my knees because Pope Francis granted a dispensation to do so because the original stairs were being restored.”

— Bernice B. Smith, St Mary of the Assumption, Hockessin