Archbishop: Media Can Aid Pilgrimages

Welcomes U.S. Coordinators to Rome

ROME, FEB. 15, 2007 ( media are useful not just to promote pilgrimages, but also to accompany them, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Archbishop John Foley made that comment on Wednesday when welcoming to Rome a group that organizes pilgrimages to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

“It is most appropriate that those who promote pilgrimages … should come to Rome, one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the world,” he told them.

The pilgrimage coordinators met at the Casa Santa Maria, a residence of U.S. priests pursuing graduate studies in Rome. Archbishop Foley, 71, recalled that he studied there during the years of the Second Vatican Council.

“One of [the council’s] documents treated of communications, the first time an ecumenical council had considered such a theme,” the prelate said. “I was in St. Peter’s Basilica when that document, ‘Inter Mirifica,’ was promulgated, little imagining that I would be here in Rome 20 years after that decree, and indeed 44 years after that decree, heading the office for which the document called.”

He added: “One of the responsibilities of our office … is to encourage bishops’ conferences to communicate the good news about the Church — and the work of pilgrimage is one of those aspects of good news.”

After reminding the coordinators about the nature of pilgrimages, Archbishop Foley encouraged the coordinators to make these events an invitation to prayer.

“I would hope that you might use the communications media not only to promote, but also to accompany your pilgrimages,” he said.

The archbishop added that “pilgrimages are indeed reminders that, on the journey through life, we can truly profit from very special moments of prayer in very special places.”

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