Constantinople / Istanbul - Ancient and Modern - Crossroads of the World

Constantinople / Istanbul - Ancient and Modern - Crossroads of the World
Istanbul/constantinople - Ancient/Modern - View of the Old City from across the Golden Horn, atop the Galata Tower.

Why I Am Convinced This Pilgrimage Is Important!

Here is a collection of articles and brochures I've written in the past -- some are dated and need updating -- that you may enjoy reading.  I want to share with you why I believe it this Early Christian World Pilgrimage is important for intelligent and faithful Catholics.

There are many reasons why I believe this Pilgrimage is important.  Some are summarized below, but I think the tragic events of September 11, 2001, brought home to me the need for understanding both our own traditions as Western Christians, and the religious convictions of the 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world, whom we are all too ready to dismiss with easy generalizations. Please read "It all began on September 11, 2001 -- the What and the Why of the Pilgrimage."

I am especially seeking Catholic School teachers, and there are several incentives:

1. Participation in the Pilgrimage is accredited by Loyola Marymount University for 4.5 semester hours of extension credit.  The information has not yet been updated for 2011, but click here for last year's information.  I am sure it will not change substantially for 2011.

2. A $2,000 scholarship for Catholic School teachers.  I realize that participation in the Pilgrimage, necessitating two weeks out of school at the beginning of May, has to be a hardship for both the teacher and the school, I am able to offer a limited number of generous scholarships: $1,000 deducted from the cost of the Pilgrimage for the teacher, and $1,000 to the school to help defray the cost of a substitute teacher.  Click here for the "open letter" I sent to principals, and click here for the course syllabus.  There are many ways that the whole school community, as well as teacher's own class, can benefit immensely from a teacher's participation in the Pilgrimage.  And I am eager to help explore and develop those possibilities.

3. Last year, Maddie Murphy, 5th grade teacher from Good Shepherd, was a Pilgrim.  Click here for her blog, a diary of the experience that she wrote for her students; and click here for the photos she posted on Picasa.  through Skype, she was also able to be in frequent direct contact with her students and with the school during the trip -- a wonderful opportunity for her class and for the whole school community.

Come, journey on this Pilgrimage with Fr. Tom Welbers as we
follow the footsteps of our recent Popes: Benedict XVI. John Paul II, Paul VI, and John XXIII (fondly remembered as “the Turkish Pope”)
cross the paths of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and many other Apostles and Saints
discover the heritage of faith left to us by the great Fathers and Mothers of the first seven centuries of Christianity
explore the fascinating and little known history of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires
come to understand the faith and culture of Islam: what we as Christians share with Muslims and how we differ
What is a pilgrimage?
It’s a spiritual journey in which we open ourselves to the God who is ever-alive among us in all times and places.
It’s a journey of discovery to places made holy by the encounter between God and his people.
It’s a journey of understanding where we can learn and appreciate the hand of God working among many people.
On our Early Christian World Pilgrimage, we will visit wonderful places, in the comfort and security of modern travel, be led by an expert tour guide, enjoy wonderful food, and stay in excellent hotels.
But this is not a vacation; it is a pilgrimage. It's more like a retreat than a sight-seeing tour.
We will celebrate Mass whenever we can, sometimes in ancient, historic churches. Every day will also be punctuated by brief morning and evening prayer, and appropriate prayers and reflections at many significant places.
Both our guide and I will speak about the spiritual meaning of the sites we will visit and the sights we will see, in addition to their history and culture.
We will study and reflect on relevant passages of Scripture, and probe other historical documents to shed light on the development of our faith.
We will have many opportunities to learn about the Catholic and Orthodox Byzantine churches and their unique spirituality, as well as the faith and practice of Islamic traditions and present-day Muslims.
And . . . not least . . . we will get to know one another in new ways and form wonderful new and lasting friendships.

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