Parish Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi 2th October to 2nd November 2014

Twenty-three intrepid pilgrims assembled in the church car park on Monday 27th of October at 6am and boarded the coach for Heathrow Airport. Our pilgrimage had begun!

We were blessed with excellent weather throughout with barely a drop of rain. Our hotel in Rome was close to St Peter’s  and over the next four days we visited St Peter’s Basilica, St Paul Outside the Walls and many of the notable churches and places of interest including the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

On Wednesday morning we were in a very large crowd in St Peter’s Square for the Papal Audience. Pope Francis appeared in relaxed and friendly form and many of the pilgrims saw him close to hand in his Popemobile. Unfortunately he didn’t pass close by us but his presence was evident from the screens around the square.  Our parish was formally welcomed over the public address system!

Every day Fr Tom celebrated Mass for the group mostly on a private basis which was a wonderful experience for us all. Among the churches where Mass was celebrated was the Irish Chapel in St Peter’s Basilica and St Anne's Church just inside the Vatican City, along with other local churches in Rome. While in Rome we also visited the church of San Clemente with its underground remains of previous churches and Roman dwellings.

On Friday the 31st of October we departed by coach to Assisi. When we last visited Assisi it was quiet and a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Rome. This time the town itself was lively with street markets and music, which was very atmospheric.

We visited the basilicas of St Francis and St Clare as well as the Franciscan monastery of St Damian, where we were given a most interesting talk by a monk from Northern Ireland about the history of the monastery still used by the Franciscan Friars today. He came as a tourist some seventeen years ago and stayed.

On our last day Sunday November 2nd we visited Orvieto and its wonderful Cathedral. Our visit coincided with the Eucharistic Jubilee year of the Diocese which finishes at the end of November 2014. We followed the pilgrim route and were able to see two chapels not normally open to the public, one of which displays a miraculous host from medieval times.

The pilgrimage involved a fair amount of walking up and down some fairly steep gradients. Most of us come back a little slimmer and fitter!

There were many other highlights and every day had something of interest to take in and appreciate. Mgr Tom Egan was a wonderful spiritual leader. We prayed for the parish intentions during the pilgrimage.

We were fortunate to have Sinead Howe as our guide. She was unfailingly helpful, cheerful and knowledgeable throughout. The pilgrimage group was a very harmonious one. New friendships were made and we hope to meet up gain to renew the experience of the pilgrimage together in the near future.

Patrick Bolger
Pilgrimage Organiser

Friday is the feast of All Saints and a holy day of obligation. Mass is at 8am, 10am and 7:30pm.


From L'Osservatore Romano.

Forty-nine young people, the inmates of the Roman borstal, Casal del Marmo, are preparing to receive an extraordinary gift. Pope Francis will go there in the afternoon of Holy Thursday, 28 March, to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. A joyful atmosphere of expectation pervades the institute.  Such an important visit had certainly not been on the cards. Above all, there had been no expectation of so suddenly touching the heart of the Pope whom they do not yet know. “The young people's enthusiasm”, Liana Giambartolomei, the principal, told us, “must be linked to the very fact that they feel they will be playing the lead on a historic day. Moreover, this is exactly what Pope Francis wanted. He expressly asked us to make sure that there were no other young people here. He wants to be certain that they know he is coming solely for them, because he loves them, he carries them in his heart and considers them important, very important”. A Caritas worker in the penal institute says that one of them, having heard the news, exclaimed: “At last I shall get to meet someone who says he is my father!”.

Fr Greco, the chaplain, does not conceal the fact that he was somewhat perplexed, at least to start with, “because”, he told our paper, “only eight of our residents are Italian: six boys and two girls. The others are all foreigners. And most of them are Muslim. Then there are some who have no religious belief at all. Therefore many of them don't even know who the Pope is. For this reason too, it was far from easy to explain to them the importance of the Pope's visit”. “A young Neapolitan”, the chaplain confided, “who has been here for a while came to my help. He gathered them all together, to try to make them understand above all what the Pope's act, which is an act of love for them, actually meant. I was upset for a moment by the first looks, that were either blank or only faintly curious about my enthusiasm. Then our friend broke the silence with that most classic of Neapolitan expressions: “Maronna mia, o Papa accà!” [good heavens! The Pope here!] and he ran his hand through his hair, his face betraying emotions mingled with happiness. At that very instant all the others, seeing his amazement, realized that it must really be something very special and began to question me. Little by little, I saw their enthusiasm growing.

Spirit in the City is a celebration of Christian faith in the heart of London, hosted by the Catholic churches in the West End.  The annual festival aims to share the Good news of Christianity, and welcomes people of all faiths, ages and walks of life in the middle of the entertainment district. It gives an opportunity to raise deeper questions about life. We are all searching for new ways to connect with God and others around us.  The events feature live music, workshops, talks, opportunities for prayer, reflection and reconciliation.

Spirit in the City was born as an initiative of the local churches in 2006, as response to the desire to share something of the Catholic faith with visitors and the West End community.

The festival takes place from the 12th to the 15th June this year. It includes different types of prayer, talks about faith and outreach in the programme.

People are searching for something more significant in their lives with meaning and purpose. We all deserve a response to these deep desires and Spirit in the City aims to be one!

In early 2013 our community in London will be one of hundreds of towns and cities worldwide joining together for the largest and longest coordinated pro-life vigil in history - the 40 Days for Life campaign.

YOU can help save lives!

40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of:

  • 40 days of prayer and fasting
  • 40 days of peaceful vigil
  • 40 days of community outreach

We are praying that, with God's help, this groundbreaking effort will mark the beginning of the end of abortion in our city -- and throughout England.

Take a stand for life

While all aspects of 40 Days for Life are crucial in our effort to end abortion, the most visible component is the peaceful prayer vigil outside the local abortion facility. You can help make a life-saving impact by joining our local vigil at:

26-27 Bedford Square
Greater London

Sign up to participate in our local 40 Days for Life vigil by clicking the "Vigil Schedule" link.

Be sure to sign-up for updates and prayer requests using the form at the top right of this page, and browse through the rest of this site to find out how YOU can help make a lifesaving impact as part of our local 40 Days for Life campaign.