By Alyssa Bormes
“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation,
and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.”
~ 1 Corinthians 3:10
The Seven Church Walk
My dad, Dr. Bill, always said that if you go to Rome, you have to walk the Seven Church Walk.
On the Wednesday of Holy Week 2005, I did so. We took a route that was just shy of 20 miles, although there are shorter routes.
– St. Mary Major – where we had morning Mass at 7 am
– St. Lawrence Outside the Walls
– Santa Croce
– St. John Lateran
– St. Sebastian – by this time, it was noon – we had a break for lunch
– St. Paul Outside the Walls – about 3 pm
– St. Peter’s Basilica – my first glimpse of the dome was at 5:06 pm
Thoughts from My Journal
At St. John Lateran – “I sat in a side chapel and prayed. Such a relief to be quiet in prayer. It seems like years go by between quiet times. It was just so peaceful.”
At. St. Sebastian – “What overcomes me here is the nearness of my father. He knelt at the same altars and sat in the same pews. Dad, thank you for your witness that I am only beginning to understand. May I live out the prayer you had for me at my Baptism.”
Writing as I sat on the Colonnade at St. Peter before going in—“I want to live out the prayer my parents had for me at Baptism.”
Still needing to go into St. Peter to finish the walk, I decided where to go inside the Basilica. So simple, both physically and spiritually, I went to the Baptismal Font—“Here is where it all began so many years ago. Surely my father had been in this spot 55 years ago. It began with the Baptism of Christ through the ages to the Baptism of my father. His pilgrimage took him to the seven churches, and at some point, he was at this baptismal font, and before I was ever born, it was somehow certain that I would end this pilgrimage here. I prayed in thanksgiving for the Baptism of Christ, for John the Baptist, for my father’s Baptism, for my mother’s Baptism, and for my own. I had walked 20 miles during the day, and somehow, I was more home than ever.”
If you can’t get to Rome, walk seven churches in your town, or seven altars, or do seven good deeds for your neighbors. Be on your own pilgrimage today as we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. Physically or spiritually, sometimes you just need to walk 20 miles to get home.
Thank you for the gift of Baptism, for the gift of being your daughter!
Call to Action
Find your 20-mile pilgrimage today!
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