Dioceses and Parishes
Your Eminence, Excellency, Monsignor, Father:
Due to its extensive experience in this field and the mission for which it was founded, ORP (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican’s pilgrimage organization) has recently been devoting itself to also serve the Dioceses and the Ecclesiastical institutions of North America, through its representative, Mrs. Patrizia De Libero, and the organization called Kairos Pilgrimages, based in the United States.
Kairos Pilgrimages is honored to represent ORP overseas and to promote the activities carried out by ORP to Dioceses and Archdioceses of North America, and to closely serve ORP pilgrims travelling from the United States and Canada. Together with ORP we carry out a pastoral service that spreads the message of Christ through the instrument that is a pilgrimage.
The experience of embarking on a pilgrimage can be spiritually very fruitful and profoundly nourishing. Rediscovering our faith in a refreshed and deepened way and exploring and understanding our human nature and its wonders can change our little world, our relationship with families, friends and eventually influence the bigger world as well. A pilgrimage can be a life-changing experience and a fertile field where God can act upon us, if we unfold our heart to his Word.
In addition to taking great care to help pilgrim groups select from among the many services we provide, such as hotels, guides, and transportation, ORP and Kairos support each group with the presence of a Pastoral Assistant, a lay person trained by ORP and in charge of the practical tasks of the pilgrimage, to insure that the priest of the group can devote himself exclusively to his spiritual duties for his pilgrims.
ORP and Kairos, having evangelization as its main mission through the instrument of the pilgrimage, are not comparable to regular travel agencies. Travel agencies may have helped you organize your pilgrimages to holy destinations. But now you have the possibility to be served by an organization of the Vatican that supports the Church and its mission.
Kairos' staff will be delighted to meet you to introduce ORP’s mission to your diocese and to explore the possibilities of helping your diocese and its parishes organize your pilgrimages. Please contact us for an appointment.
In 2014 ORP celebrates the 80th anniversary of its foundation: eighty years of service to the Church of Rome and other sister Dioceses in the Universal Church, towards which ORP and Kairos are happy to offer all their experience and assistance.
With the most cordial greetings and respectful regards,
Special access with ORP
In order to better support our pilgrims and spiritual guides we provide each group with a Pastoral Assistant, usually a lay person with a strong Catholic background and extensive experience guiding pilgrimages and caring for people. We also provide the group with a spiritual guide, whenever it is required.
Many doors are open to ORP due to its connection to the Vatican, especially in places where the Christian tradition is strongly felt, such as in Rome, where we have particular access to the Christian areas and the Vatican, but also in the Holy Land. For example ORP organizes the Marathon of Peace Jerusalem-Bethlehem with Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim, Jewish, Christian athletes running together for peace. In this particular occasion the doors of Bethlehem open to Jewish runners too.
The pilgrim lifestyle and a new role for tourism*
These days we see more travelers involved in spiritual journeys. The pilgrimage is becoming a style of life, a way to enrich the spirit and to establish a new relationship with God. There are more and more travelers who are looking for sobriety and simplicity, who wish to appreciate small things and feeling gratitude for them, for our Lord. The leisure tourism is changing direction.
The pilgrim can be seen as an instrument of peace, the kind of peace that is meant by the biblical word shalom, living in harmony with God. The experience of the pilgrimage connects the human being with His Creator and the dimension of creation simply by practicing faith as something alive and fresh, in every moment of the journey.
We hope that the more traditional operators of the leisure tourism industry will embrace this mission, promoting a new way of travelling, becoming an instrument of harmony, promoting the encounter with God and a profound respect for the environment, for people and for the all planet. Only in this way will the action of traveling taken by each viator become a vehicle of peace in the world.
*(We wish to thank Father Caesar Atuire, CEO of the Opera Romana, for having inspired this writing with his recent and bright book, The Pilgrimage, the Journey of Life, soon available in English.)
Kairos and ORP are committed to a model of tourism that respects nature and helps to support our fellow human beings. As Pope Benedict XVI has written:
This means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying.
As an American Catholic priest, who has been on a sabbatical in Rome, I've wanted to promote among people in our diocese and beyond, a true "faith-filled pilgrimage." I did not want a pre-packaged pilgrimage that many travel agencies promote with little or no input taken from priests who desire to promote and authentic pilgrimage, and where the role of the priest is not simply to be a chaplain for the organized group.
Kairos Pilgrimages is currently the only agency in northern United States and Canada that is directly and officially connected to the Vatican Office for Pilgrimages,and whose administrator, Patrizia De Libero Brown, a truly faith-filled woman, has been very helpful to me in planning an authentic pilgrimage to Rome to coincide with the year of Faith that begins October 11, 2012, marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II Council. I am entitling this 7-day pilgrimage "Sharing the Graces of the Saints and Martyrs of Rome."
Patrizia has been wonderful to work with, and herself embodies a true pilgrim spirit of faith and joy. With the blessing of the Office for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican Office for Pilgrimages, ORP, is seeking to promote the new evangelization through the concept of authentic pilgrimages to the holy sites in Rome, the holy land and beyond, especially during this year of faith. I hope other American Catholic priests and bishops will consider Kairos Pilgrimages to work with them to provide a true spiritual pilgrimage.
Father Leo, Immaculate Heart of Mary
We would like to share with you this inspirational letter written by Holy Father, John Paul II, in 1999, in preparation for the celebration of faith of the Great Julbilee. His thoughts on sacred spaces and the value of a pilgrimage will provide great inspiration as you consider embarking on such a journey of the spirit.
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