October 13, 2006

Siena and San Gimignano

By Sean Gallagher

(See a photo gallery for this post)

Siena ItalyFollowing breakfast in our respective hotels, the archdiocesan pilgrimage began the day in Siena with Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Its primary attraction is that it houses a Eucharistic miracle. In 1730, a silver pyx containing hundred hosts was stolen from the church.  There was an outcry in the town about the crime.  A few days later the hosts were found in an alms box in another church in Siena.

They taken out with care and solemnly brought back to the basilica.  They were not consumed afterwards and have miraculously maintained their original condition now for more than two centuries.  Numerous scientists have examined them and have been unable to give a natural explanation for the phenomenon.

At the conclusion of the morning’s Mass, Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein blessed the assembled pilgrims with the monstrance that contain the hosts.  Afterward, the pilgrims were invited to come forward and pray in adoration before them.

The Catholic Church already views every celebration of the Eucharist and Christ’s continuing presence in the Blessed Sacrament as not only any miracle but as the miracle par excellence, the one that stands at the heart of the life of faith.

For many of the pilgrims, the opportunity to pray in the presence of this Eucharistic miracle only increased their appreciation for this supreme gift of Christ to the Church.

Following the conclusion of Mass, the pilgrims went on a walking tour of Siena that included visiting the Campo and the Duomo.

San Gimignano, ItalyAfter lunch, they went to another Tuscan hill town, San Gimignano.  It is primarily known for its many medieval buildings, including more than a dozen towers that its various families built in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Although we had only about an hour to visit this town, it was a special treat.  We had a chance to get some more gelato and to listen and watch a pair of colorful street musicians in San Gimignano’s Piazza de Cisterna.

From Tuscany, we drove back south and had a hearty supper at a winery on our way back to Rome.

We’re on the road now and are looking forward to a good night’s rest. 

Posted by Sean Gallagher at 5:59 p.m. on Friday, October 13, 2006


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