2013 is the Year of Faith. Itinerary to the 7 Pilgrims Churches of Rome

2013 is the Year of Faith. Itinerary to the 7 Pilgrims Churches of Rome

The Catholic church celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council last October and Benedict XVI proclaimed the period running through November 2013 as the Year of Faith. [1]

Since when Pope Bonifacio VIII created the Jubilee in the year 1300, Rome became the main pilgrimage destination for Catholics, replacing Jerusalem and the Holy Land as the heart of world Christianity.

The itineraries laid out for Catholics who want to visit Rome and surroundings are two: one within Rome, the other encompassing the six most significant towns of the Rome area from a Catholic perspective.

In this post we will tell you about the short, historical path, leading you to discover the seven key churches of Rome for a Catholic pilgrim. Out of the nearly 1000 churches of Rome, by reading this story you can pick up seven of them with a peculiar religious meaning.

These seven churches were already identified during the 14th century, but became well known in the mid-16th century mainly thanks to the work of St Philip Neri who spent much of his life assisting pilgrims and introducing them to the seven basilicas. The number seven is linked to the fact that Jesus Stations of the Cross were seven, as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Sacraments and the Works of Mercy.

Pilgrims had to visit them all once they were in Rome, and many achieved to do it in one day! We challenge you to the same (for a total distance of 16 miles) without using public transport, but we strongly recommend you to take it more easily as they are all beautiful and so full of art and history that you need to deserve them more than 12 hours.

They are of course St. Peter’s; the other three papal basilicas – St Paul Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore and St John Lateran; San Lorenzo, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and San Sebastiano Outside the Walls.

The latter was replaced for the last Great Jubilee, in the year 2000, by John Paul II with the Divino Amore Shrine [2], in Rome’s southeastern suburbs.

If you also want to be given a direction while touring these churches, you can follow the order provided by the Franzini guidebook of Rome, printed in 1595: St John Lateran (the first ever seat of the Pope), St. Peter’s (current seat of the Catholic church), St Paul (burial place of Saint Paul), St. Maria Maggiore (the most ancient church devoted to Mary), San Lorenzo (burial place of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and St Lawrence), San Sebastiano (catacomb church) and Santa Croce (housing the Passion Relics).

[1] http://www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html

[2] http://www.santuariodivinoamore.it/en.html