You’re invited… but act now

pilgrimage to Marian shrines and rome will mark CFNEK anniversary

by Jessica Langdon

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Plenty of people plan a special trip to celebrate a milestone anniversary.
But when it comes to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas in 2014, it won’t be just a trip; it will be a spiritual experience.

From Oct. 7-17, 2014, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will lead a pilgrimage that will start out in Lisbon and Fatima in Portugal, then move on to Santiago de Compostela and Santander in Spain, hit Lourdes, France, next, and then conclude in Rome.

“Because Mary is our patroness of the archdiocese, our leadership felt it was important to honor Mary in gratitude for all of the wonderful things that have occurred,” said Lesle Knop, CFNEK executive director and archdiocesan director of stewardship and development.

“The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas has much to celebrate,” said Knop.

Launched in 1989 by Archbishop Ignatius J. Strecker, the archdiocesan foundation — now CFNEK — has helped parishes, schools, cemeteries and other Catholic entities provide for future needs of their institutions through distributions from a variety of funds.
Board members really wanted Archbishop Naumann to lead the pilgrimage celebrating CFNEK’s milestone.

“We started talking to the archbishop about this two years ago because his calendar is so full,” said Knop. “His response was he wants to be sure everyone in the archdiocese has the opportunity to join us.”

“A pilgrimage is a time of prayer and camaraderie in the spirit of our faith,” said Archbishop Naumann in the materials inviting Catholics to join him.

The pilgrimage with Unitours, Inc., costs $4,399, with a $300 deposit per person due with reservations.

Organizers hope people will start planning and saving money now.

“It will be a special time,” said Carl Rolf, a member of Corpus Christi Parish in Lawrence. He is part of the CFNEK board and a leader of the committee planning the anniversary celebration.
He and his wife Dorothy have visited many of the places on the itinerary, and he can’t wait for others to experience the sites for themselves.

Their pilgrimage to Fatima stood out in Rolf’s mind.

“We had a pretty good idea from the literature what would be there, but it far exceeded anything we could read in print or see on the computer,” he said.

The itinerary calls for a full day in Fatima, where pilgrims will visit the basilica and shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. They will also see the birthplaces of the children to whom Mary appeared in 1917.
In Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrimage will include Mass at the cathedral of Santiago, and the group will travel along one of the famed “Routes of St. James” heading to Santander.

Another day will consist of a walking tour of Lourdes and a visit to the shrine.

Knop has traveled to several of the sites the group will visit and believes experiencing them in person really illustrates the universal nature of the church.

The schedule for Rome calls for an audience with Pope Francis if he is in residence.

“It’s an extensive trip,” said Knop. “I think that for any individual who’s interested or who has been praying for an opportunity to go to these shrines, now is a wonderful time to do so, accompanied by Archbishop Naumann.”

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Jessica Langdon

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