A few months ago, our neighbors Nina and Charlie asked if we were going to the informational meeting regarding the diocesan pilgrimage to Italy. At first, Marie and I were lukewarm to the idea; we had been to Italy on tours in the past. But after the informational meeting and much discussion, we decided to give it a go.
Fast forward to the pre-departure dinner at Our Lady of Peace: One of Father Ted Marconi’s comments that night stayed with me. He said, “Go to confession before you leave and I tell you, when you come back, you will see things in a different light.”
Boy was he right! This message is so simple: Clear your soul of any transgressions and you open a path for the Holy Spirit to enter.
The pilgrimage included visits to many religious sites, but just as important were the daily Masses we attended, sometimes in local parish churches. I found these to be important highlights of the pilgrimage. I was honored—no, humbled—when I was asked to do a reading at the Mass we celebrated at the Duomo in Florence. Father Ted’s message was starting to work on me. Being at the lectern in the cathedral of Florence really hit me hard. It is a moment I shall never forget.
The next day it was on to Siena and Assisi. Assisi will always be something special to both me and my wife. Both of us went on the trip with special intentions. Suffice it to say they were heard.
During our private Mass at the tomb of St Francis, Father Ed Lohse’s homily said in so many words that we all are called to action. He hit a nerve with me and I fell into deep prayer. I have had the pleasure of being a catechist for confirmation candidates in the past. At that moment, I knew I had to carry on that ministry in some fashion.
The pilgrimage ended in Rome. Seeing Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square was phenomenal. What a great faith we have! There we were in a crowd of 80,000 people from all over the world, but we were one body, gathered to see our leader at the seat of our faith. I’ve got to believe not everyone there was Catholic. It made me think of the line in the Apostles Creed that says “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” The use of the word catholic here means universal. Christ came for all. This moment swelled my heart.
The pilgrimage did its job. It was a call to action. Now that some time has elapsed, I have decided to respond to my own call to action, launching a blog in which I will share thoughts, especially for young people, about what my faith means to me. Visit www.ErieRCD.org for the link. Hope to see you there! A.M.D.G.
Editor’s note: A.M.D.G stands for ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God. It is the Latin motto of the Jesuits, who had a profound impact on Frank Sciccatano during his formative years. Frank and Marie are long-time members of Holy Cross Parish in Fairview.