Through the support of our generous donors, our seminarians are embarking on a transformative journey of faith to trace the sacred footsteps of St. Paul on a pilgrimage like no other. This extraordinary journey will immerse seminarians in the rich tapestry of history and spirituality as they walk the path of the Apostle Paul through Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

This pilgrimage is more than a historical reenactment; it’s an opportunity for introspection, prayer, and spiritual growth. This is not just a journey—it’s an opportunity to deepen faith, and a chance to connect with the roots of Christianity.

You’re invited to join our seminarians on this sacred expedition by following along and read their blog throughout their journey.

Their travel schedule is as follows:

  • Turkey (November 19 – December 3)
  • Greece (December 3 – 9
  • Italy (December 9 – 23

Finding God in Silence
2023 | Pilgrimage

Finding God in Silence

After a long journey with meditation on the Footsteps of Saint Paul, going from Turkey, through Greece and ending up in Rome, I felt very low, tired, and empty. Deep in my heart I asked myself, “Perhaps God is asking me to go on a silent retreat!” And this is exactly happened when we arrived in Assisi. The retreat allowed me, together with my fellow seminarians, to set apart time for God by disconnecting from the very connected world. Going away to be alone with God was a beautiful experience.

Go Hard and Go Home
2023 | Pilgrimage

Go Hard and Go Home

The seminarians were on a week-long silent retreat in Assisi, home to St. Francis, to prepare for the transitional diaconate ordination this summer. Assisi is a hilly city that can be explored on foot, and one will find stunning churches within a one-mile radius. The Basilica of St. Francis is one of the most famous churches in Assisi, and the saint’s tomb is located on the lower basilica of the property.

A Tale of Two Romes
2023 | Pilgrimage

A Tale of Two Romes

We have just concluded our time in Rome with an audience from Pope Francis at the Vatican. This marked my third return to St. Peter’s in Rome. What has always surprised me about St. Peter’s is how remarkably well kept it is. The façade is clean and crisp, the colonnade stands tall and strong, adorned with statues of the early saints. Granted it underwent renovations during the Renaissance, but the point still stands.

Holy Steps
2023 | Pilgrimage

Holy Steps

Today was an amazing day. We started with Lauds before heading out to the Holy Steps. These Steps were the steps Jesus ascended during his Passion when he was judged by Pontius Pilate, and they were moved from Jerusalem to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th Century.

Unknown Soldiers of Christ
2023 | Pilgrimage

Unknown Soldiers of Christ

We have just concluded our time in Athens, Greece and recently arrived in Rome. The final monument we visited in Athens before we departed was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial honoring all of the Greek soldiers who died in service to their country. It is guarded 24/7 by two Evzones, specially trained and handpicked soldiers of the Presidential Guard of the Greek Armed Forces.

The True Tower of Ivory
2023 | Pilgrimage

The True Tower of Ivory

It’s our last full day in Greece, and the day when we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Today we toured the city of Athens, hiked up to the Parthenon (an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Athena) and visited the Areopagus on the same rocky outcrop, where St. Paul preached to the Athenians (see Acts 17:16-34).

The Christian Community
2023 | Pilgrimage

The Christian Community

One of the things that has struck me the most on this pilgrimage so far is the intimacy the Christian community shared together during the early Church. It first occurred to me at the cave churches in Cappadocia while pondering the friendship of Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus and the tight knit communities and homes that the believers would have shared.

Travel Light
2023 | Pilgrimage

Travel Light

A good piece of advice that I learned from my friends who love to travel around the world is this phrase “travel light.” What is it exactly to travel light when you are going on a journey? What does it mean in our case going to a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St. Paul?

Ephesus
2023 | Pilgrimage

Ephesus

The ancient city of Ephesus was a major center of the Roman world. It was a port city with a population that was near 250,000. The city had streets were made of marble and had a library that was second only to the great library of Alexandria. In the city were many temples to the Roman gods, especially the goddess Artemis, whose name was repeated for two hours in the theatre when Paul tried to proclaim the gospel in Ephesus.

Laodicea and the Early Christian Community
2023 | Pilgrimage

Laodicea and the Early Christian Community

Today, we visited Laodicea, one of the Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation (Rev 1:11, 3:14-22), and it was there that we were blessed to see the ruins of an early Christian community founded by St. Paul. The detail and artwork that went into these early churches was astounding, not only on an architectural level, but also theologically.

Hagia Sophia
2023 | Pilgrimage

Hagia Sophia

After our ~16 hours of airports and flying, we made it to Istanbul, our first stop on our 2023 Mundelein pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul. Seeing as Istanbul is over 90% Muslim, like the rest of Turkey, and St. Paul never explicitly mentions stopping in the city, it might seem like a strange first place for us to visit.