Monday, June 2, 2014

Pilgrimage to Patron Saints of Kiabakari Church

As promised, I would like to write a few words about the personal pilgrimage we undertook with Fr. Emil Furtak to Patron Saints of Kiabakari parochial church - Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and Saint Gemma Galgani.

It was a daring and challenging journey. Fr. Emil was doing the driving and guiding us throughout the whole adventure. More than 3,500 kilometers covered in five days, one day we did more than 1,000 kilometers, the other - more than 900 kilometers.

Everything went smoothly and surprisingly without any problems. First day we traveled to one of our classmates parish in Austria, Fr. John. We spent the night over there. On Tuesday morning we set off at 4.30 a.m. towards Turin which we reached about 3.30 p.m. We found our accommodation at Casa Madre of Salesian congregation adjacent to Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians built by Don Bosco himself whose tomb is in the basilica.

The same evening we went to the cathedral to pray at the tomb of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati located at the left hand side chapel / altar. We were lucky to meet the parish priest of the cathedral, who permitted us to celebrate the Holy Mass praying in all intentions we came with in our hearts.

The following morning we celebrated the Holy Mass in the Basilica at the main altar in honor of Saint Don Bosco, praying through his intercession in particular for children and youth of the world, especially those under our pastoral care.

Then we took a metro and went to visit the Museum of Automobiles, which left us a bit disappointed. We expected something better and more interactive and displaying more of the Italian car history.

Anyway, we returned to the starting point in the city center and took the bus to Juventus new stadium where we spent quite some time, took a guided tour and took pictures in the museum and the stadium itself.

Rain suddenly came with hale, we were lucky to find shelter at the bus stop waiting for the bus taking us back home.

The next day at 6 a.m. we set off to Lucca, where we arrived around 10.30. We were lucky again to get permission to celebrate the Holy Mass at the main altar of the Shrine dedicated to St. Gemma Galgani. Her tomb is located below the main altar. We met mother general of Passionist sisters there who introduced us to two Tanzanian sisters, one from Dodoma and the other from Iringa, members of the congregation.

We were lucky again as one of the assisting priests in the shrine, Don Giuseppe, took us for lunch and nice talk about the shrine and the history of the area. We met another Passionist father there at the lunch as well.

Then we went to the house where Saint Gemma was born, in Camigliano, just outside of Lucca, some 8 kilometers from Lucca. One of the sisters showed us around, then we started our journey back home.

First, we arrived to Cella, to one of the Polish fathers living and working in Reggio d'Emillia diocese. He received us very well, the next morning we said Holy Mass at the chapel of the nursing home, adjacent to the parish.

Then we drove back, climbing Alps and negotiating millions of sharp turns as we climbed up to Passo Giovo, passing on the way some finest machinery the world has to offer - Bugatti Veyrons (eleven of them, we were counting!), Ferraris, Lamborghinis, motorcycles of all sizes and kinds. Wow. The views were breathtaking, hard to explain, you have to see it for yourself.

We went through Brenner Pass, stopped for a short walk in Innsbruck, then drove straight to Ulmerfeld, another classmate of ours' parish, Fr. Wiesiek. We had a nice chat and meal together and after Saturday morning Mass in the parochial church, visiting on the way Fr. John again, we arrived to Krakow shortly after 3 p.m.

It was an exhausting trip and very emotional. I am very very grateful to Merciful God for the grace of this special week when I was able to fulfill my dream of personal pilgrimage to holy shrines of Patron Saints of my parochial church in Kiabakari. I am very grateful to Fr. Emil as well. Without him, his driving skills, his expertise, his knowledge and character - this trip would remain just an unfulfilled dream.


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