Rome pilgrimage to offer support to seminarian, be journey of faith
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
According to Father Will Vit, rector of the Cathedral of the Epiphany, he is leading the pilgrimage with Bishop Walker Nickless and Father Brent Lingle.
“The three of us wanted to make sure that we had a group of people coming from the Diocese of Sioux City and in particular from the Cathedral to support David’s ordination,” said Father Vit, who has been the main organizer of the pilgrimage. While Esquiliano is a native of Mexico, he now calls Cathedral his home parish.
The pilgrimage will begin on Sept. 28 when they depart for Omaha by bus from the Cathedral. The group which is mainly made up of parishioners from various parts of this diocese will spend the weekend in Assisi.
Bishop Nickless will meet up with the group in Rome on Oct. 1 because he is celebrating another event in the diocese on Sept. 29.
Center of the church
“I look forward to the pilgrimage because anytime Catholics and others go to Rome, the center of the church, it is an opportunity for them to reflect on their faith and the papacy. It is also an opportunity for them to thank God for the gift of St. Peter and his successors,” the bishop said.
The same holds true for Father Lingle. As the diocesan director of worship, he said this pilgrimage allows Catholics “to return to their roots, where it all started.” As a pilgrimage, it is more than just seeing some nice buildings; it is about the spiritual component and tracing the history of the church.
As a pilgrimage, prayer and spiritual components are incorporated where possible. Mass will be celebrated each day. And while a Sunday Mass is planned to be held at Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Father Vit said some Masses will be arranged along the way because that’s usually how it is done.
“The nice thing about Europe is that there is great flexibility,” Father Vit said.
And while an Italian escort will be with the group to help them arrange things like Mass times and locations, suggest restaurants and so on, Father Vit is no stranger to Rome as he studied there at the North American College and was also ordained to the diaconate at St. Peter’s in 2004.
Supporting diocesan seminarian
Knowing how much it meant to him to have parishioners from the diocese attend his ordination was the catalyst in setting up this pilgrimage to support Esquiliano.
Since Father Vit studied there and has been back a number of times, what he looks forward to most will be the reactions of those who have never been there.
Father Lingle studied there for a month while in the seminary and has made several trips there too, so he is also quite familiar with the area. He noted five members of his family will be going and he is aware that this will be a first trip to Rome for many in the group.
“It will be neat to see them experience it and take it all in on a spiritual level,” he said. “I’ve been there, I’ve experienced it but I am looking forward to being part of other people experiencing it for the first time.”
Father Lingle looks forward to the group being able to attend an ordination at St. Peter’s.
Bishop Nickless not only looks forward to the ordination but celebrating the Mass of Thanksgiving the day after Esquiliano’s ordination and all of the Masses that will be celebrated daily during the pilgrimage.
When Cindy Tiedeman, the bishop’s administrative assistant and a member of the Serra Club of Siouxland, heard that Father Vit was putting together a pilgrimage to Rome to support Esquiliano for his ordination, she knew this would be a wonderful event to attend.
“My husband and I have received a Papal Blessing for our wedding anniversary so we thought to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary this would be a great way. We went to New York in 2008 when the Holy Father was there and attended his Masses. We have never been to Rome and knew this would be a faith-filled spiritual event with Bishop Nickless,” she said.
Carl and Jean Ribando, parishioners of Sacred Heart in Sioux City, are among those making the trip.
“I have always wanted to go to Rome since I was a little girl and we wanted to go to the diaconate ordination. That must be absolutely fabulous to see. It will be quite an occasion for us,” she said.
Carl Ribando pointed out that he has wanted to see Italy because his parents are from there.
“It happened to be a good opportunity for Jean and me to go with a Catholic group – so we did it. I think we will have a real good time,” he said.
The path of saints
They both are looking forward to walking in the paths where so many saints have walked – to see the buildings and be able to celebrate liturgies.
Al Metz of Sioux City is taking part in the pilgrimage with his wife Kay. He said they wanted to do this for several reasons. First of all, it is a celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary which was in May.
“Second, this is an opportunity to see what Rome is like,” he said. “Experiencing it firsthand has been a life-long dream. I have dreamt of this since I was a little kid – to go to Rome and see where the pope lives.”
Being able to go on this pilgrimage with the diocese is an added value, Metz said, because they will be going with people who know how to get around the country and the history there.
While in Rome, Monday will focus on the Vatican and Tuesday will involve holy sites in Rome. Wednesday is the papal audience. Thursday is the diaconate ordination followed by a reception and afternoon tours of ancient excavations underneath the Vatican, which Father Vit believes will be another highlight of the trip.
Along with the David’s first Mass as a deacon, Friday will provide a day for visiting some of the cultural sites of ancient Rome such as the coliseum.
Along with sacred and historic sites, Father Vit said meals will be a big part of the trip because “it’s not just about getting nourishment, it’s part of the experience.”
When he first began to organize the pilgrimage, Father Vit expected there to be about 25 to 30, but the number of participants was nearly double. He thinks the faith aspect created that sense of trust and familiarity, making this trip in particular attractive.
This weekend, Father Vit said they will be inviting parishioners at the Masses to write a note of congratulations to David. While he can’t bring 2,500 families to David, the priest said “at least I can bring their words.”
|Back to top|
|Headlines | Home|