St Joachim's and St Helen's Joint Pilgrimage to Rome
At the end of February, 20 of St Joachim's year 5s together with 20 St Helen's Year 5 pupils as well as Fr Dan Kelly and Fr Tony Grant, spent 5 days in Rome on a very special pilgrimage. During their pilgrimage, the pupils visited many of the most significant and important Holy Sites and grounds in Rome; including the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul. We were also extremely privileged to be able to have Mass at the tomb of St Peter in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica presided by Fr Dan and Fr Tony. The children also visited two English Seminaries, namely the Beda College and the English College. The rector of the English College, Fr Stephen Wang, allowed the children to explore the college in order to learn about its history and he also revealed the holy relics of the martyrs, under the altar, to the children during Mass.
Other wonderful churches visited included St John Lateran, the Mother Church, St Mary Major (The children visited all four major basilica's of the world), Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Scala Sancta, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, The Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs (The Pantheon) and a few other churches too. The children were able to admire so many great paintings and sculptures of religious scenes, as well as admire and appreciate the fantastic beauty of each church. Added to this they got visit the tombs of great saints such as St Catherine of Sienna and many popes who are now saints. It was a wonderful religious and educational experience.
In addition to the religious pilgrimage the children also had a great learning experience of the Romans. St Joachim's children had a very exciting day of going up Mount Vesuvius followed by exploring the ancient city of Pompeii, and seeing what remained after the infamous volcanic eruption. Both schools also had the opportunity to see where Rome began visiting the ruins of the palaces on the Palatine Hills as well as visiting the Roman Forum and Colosseum. They were immersed in the historical foundations of our faith as well as learning a lot about Roman history. The children also got to enjoy a lot of pizza and pasta too!