The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” -- St. Augustine

Friday, October 6, 2017

El Cristo Rey Chapel -- Grand Canyon, Ariz.

Destination: A short walk away from the south rim of the Grand Canyon sits El Cristo Rey Chapel, a small wooden building that serves as the spiritual home of the Catholic families who work at the national park.
Winter Mass schedule starts on the first Sunday of December through March at El Cristo Rey. Masses are Sundays at 9 a.m. Summer Masses, April to October at El Cristo Rey, are Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and Sundays, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Why to go: El Cristo Rey, a parish of the Phoenix Diocese, has 26 registered families, who are “always outnumbered by the tourists,” says Father Rafael Bercasio, pastor.
(CNS photos)
The chapel is located within the boundaries of Grand Canyon Village, a residential neighborhood of around 1,500 households that includes a school, a grocery store and a post office. Residents are employed as park rangers and naturalists, maintenance workers, and hotel, restaurant and retail staff. Some live there only six months out of the year, although the park is open year-round.
From his base at El Cristo Rey, Father Bercasio also ministers to a mostly Hispanic community founded five years ago about 30 miles outside the entrance to the park.
El Cristo Rey Chapel was officially established in 1960, although priests from the Diocese of Gallup, N.M., began coming to celebrate Mass for El Tovar’s workers around 1919-1920.Father Bercasio celebrates a daily Mass at 8 a.m., and most of the time, he said, he is the only one in attendance. He celebrates two Masses on Sundays, plus a vigil on Saturdays in summer.
“I always commend the tourists for fulfilling their obligation,” he said. “You are in the midst of your gallivanting and still you are here. It is a testimony that your faith does not take a vacation. It’s very inspiring.”
(Grand) Kid friendly: Everyone is welcome to attend Mass at the church.
Info: Address: El Cristo Rey Parish, 44 Albright Ave., PO Box 505,  Grand Canyon, AZ 86023    Phone — 928/351-7282   Website —
— CNS; Sharon Boehlefeld contributed to this story.
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

St Padre Pio Relics - LaCrosse and Kenosha, Wis.

(Observer photo/ The Saint Pio Foundation)

Destination: Relics of the renowned 20th century mystic and healer, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina  — better known as Padre Pio — will be touring stopping at two Wisconsin locations during a U.S. tour. The visit is sponsored by The Saint Pio Foundation.
They will be at the Cathedral St. Joseph the Workman in the Diocese of La Crosse on Sept. 20 and at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Sept. 21.
Masses are offered at both cathedrals. Check their websites for details.
Why to go: The Saint Pio Foundation, is sponsoring the tour on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Padre Pio’s birth, and the 15th anniversary of his canonization.
St. Pio was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, and baptized Francesco Forgione. From age 10, he talked of becoming a priest. To help pay for his education, his father, Grazio Forgione, emigrated to the United States in 1899, where he worked for several years.
The future saint entered the Capuchin order at age 15, taking the name Pio. He was ordained a priest in 1910 at the age of 23. During his lifetime, Padre Pio was known as a mystic with miraculous powers of healing and knowledge, who bore the stigmata.
Stigmata is the term the Catholic Church uses to speak about the wounds an individual receives that correspond to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ.  They can appear on the forehead, hands, wrists, and feet.
Pope John Paul II canonized him in 2002.
Hours:  Veneration and services will vary at each cathedral. Check the local website for details.
(Grand) Kid friendly: Visting a saint’s relics can be a solemn occasion. Remind the kids before you go.
Info: General:
Diocese of LaCrosse: Address — The Cathedral St Joseph the Workman, 530 Main St., La Crosse, WI 54601 n   Phone — 608/782-0322 n   Website —
Archdiocese of Milwaukee: Address — Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee, WI 53202 n   Phone — 414/276-9814 n   Website —

— Sharon Boehlefeld compiled this story.
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

St. Patrick’s Cathedral New York City, New York

 (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Destination: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City may be the most famous Catholic church in the United States. Even Pope Francis spent time there in prayer when he visted the U.S. in 2015.
Masses are offered several times daily. Check the website (below) to make your plans. There is also Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, 1-6 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Why to go: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City may be the most famous Catholic church in the United States. The cornerstone was laid in 1858 and  the church opened in 1879. New York Archbishop John Hughes planned the cathedral. It was paid for by contributions from thousands of poor immigrants and by 103 prominent citizens who pledged $1,000 each.
Hours: The cathedral is open 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. daily except on the night of the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, when it closes at 7 p.m. The gift shop in the cathedral is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.The Storefront gift shop at 15 East 51st St. is open daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
(Grand) Kid friendly: Because the cathedral is open to guests even during Masses and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, youngsters should be quiet while visiting.
Info: Address — St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st streets, New York, NY 10022  Phone — 212/753-2261    Website —
— Sharon Boehlefeld compiled this story.
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Thursday, July 6, 2017

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun -- Tucson, Ariz.

(CNS photos/Nancy Wiechec)
Destination: Despite the May 29 fire (see the June 9 Nation/World section) that severely damaged the adobe structure and frescoes by artist Ted DeGrazia in the Mission in the Sun, it’s still well worth visiting the late artist’s Gallery in the Sun outside Tucson, Ariz.
Masses are not offered in the nondenominational Mission in the Sun that DeGrazia built in 1952 to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe and Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Kino (see painting, right). There are Mass options in nearby Tucson, though.

LEFT: “Altar Valley Padre Kino Entrada 1687.” It is part of the Padre Kino Collection at the gallery.

Why to go: There are six permanent collections at the gallery, among them DeGrazia and Padre Kino, Retrospective Collection, and DeGrazia Paints the Yaqui Easter.
This year, the rotating collection, “The Way of the Cross”
 remains open until Aug. 30.
The influence of DeGrazia’s Catholic upbringing — he stopped practicing as an adult — are evident in the many Catholic and Christian themes in his work.
George Maki, and his son, Chris, take in Ted
DeGrazia’s Way of the Cross series at the
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. The artist painted
the series in 1964 for the Newman Center
at the University of Arizona.
The mission was the first structure he built on the 10 acres in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. His home and galleries came later. His original “Little Gallery” now hosts exhibits of visiting artists, a tradition begun by his wife, Marion, after his death in 1982.
Hours: The gallery and grounds are open daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
(Grand) Kid friendly: Of course.
Info: Address — DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, 6300 N. Swan, Tucson, AZ 85718 n    Phone — 520/299-9191 n   Website —

— Sharon Boehlefeld compiled this story.
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Vatican Museums -- Rome, Italy

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Destination: If you’re heading to Rome in the next several weeks, a two-part exhibition — one at the Vatican and the other at the Jewish Museum of Rome — explores the significance of the menorah.
Masses are frequent in Rome. Check on the web for a location convenient for you.

Photo: A journalist looks at a replica of the 1st-century Arch of Titus, showing Roman soldiers carrying the menorah, in a exhibition at the Vatican May 15. The replica is the central motif in a two-part exhibition on the menorah at the Vatican and at the Jewish Museum in Rome. 

Why to go:  From a coin minted in the century before Christ’s birth to a 1987 Israeli comic book featuring a superhero with a menorah on his chest, the exhibit, “The Menorah: Worship, History and Myth,” documents the use of the seven-branched candelabra both as a religious item and a symbol of Jewish identity.
Among the pieces displayed at the Jewish Museum stands a towering mosaic inscription describing treasures buried at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome. Dating from the 13th century, while the Crusades were raging, the mosaic’s 37-line inventory includes “the golden candelabrum” Titus brought to Rome.
The exhibit prominently features a replica of the 1st-century Arch of Titus, showing Roman soldiers carrying the menorah and other treasures into Rome. They also give a nod to the centuries-old legend that the Vatican is hiding the golden menorah from the Temple of Jerusalem.
Francesco Leone, the art historian who prepared the exhibit catalogue, told Catholic News Service the most historically reliable explanation of the Temple menorah’s fate is that it was taken as booty from Rome by the Vandals or Goths before the end of the fifth century and melted down.
Admission: The exhibit is scheduled to be open through July 23. One ticket — 25 euros — includes admission to the main part of the exhibit in the Charlemagne Wing just off St. Peter’s Square and to the Jewish Museum, located about a mile away at Rome’s main synagogue.
Hours vary at each museum and the Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays while the Jewish Museum is closed Saturdays.  Check details for both venues at the Vatican Museums website (below).
(Grand) Kid friendly: Of course.
Info: Address — Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, 00165 Rome
Phone — +39 06 69884676 or +39 06 69883145
Website —
— CNS; Sharon Boehlefeld contributed to this story.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Xaverian Mission Center Our Lady of Fatima Shrine -- Holliston, Mass.

(Observer screen grab/ Facebook:
Our Lady of Fatima Shrine a ministry
of the Xaverian Missionaries)
Destination: If you plan a trip east during the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance in Fatima, Portugal, a visit to Our Lady of Fatima Shrine might make a good spiritual rest stop.
The Xaverian Missionaries, who maintain the shrine, are a religious community of priests and brothers founded in 1895 by Saint Guido M. Conforti, who was inspired by the life and dreams of St. Francis Xavier.
Masses are Sunday, 11 a.m. (Shrine Church); Monday–Saturday,  Morning: 7:30 am (House Chapel); Tuesday, 7 p.m. for vocations (House Chapel); Wednesday,  7:30 p.m. (Shrine Church); Saturday, 10 a.m. Votive Mass to Our Lady (Shrine Church).
Why to go: Since it opened in 1947, its Facebook page says, “the shrine is a place of prayer and education for thousands of people annually.” Parish groups come for summer pilgrimages. In December there are Christmas lights that draw thousands. Throughout the year the Xaverian Missionaries hold education programs and retreats.
Special events: Fatima Days will resume in May and continue until October on the 13th of each month with a 7p.m. Liturgy of the Eucharist; 8 p.m. outdoor candlelight rosary with prayer of the Hail Mary in the different languages of the participants; 8:45–9:30 p.m. Fraternal Agape in the Shrine Hall (coffee, tea, cookies etc.) On May 13, there will also be a 6:30 p.m. praise and song gathering.
Amenities: The shrine is open daily, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Our Lady of Fatima Gift Shop is open 11a.m.– 6 p.m.
(Grand) Kid friendly: Absolutely.
Info: Address — Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, 101 Summer St., Holliston, MA 01746
Phone — 508/429-2144
Website —
Facebook — Our Lady of Fatima Shrine a ministry of the Xaverian Missionaries
— CNS; Sharon Boehlefeld contributed to this story.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery Estate -- Kennebunkport, Maine

(Observer photos/
Destination: Established in 1947, St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.This could be a rest stop on a trip to Maine  or to other East Coast destinations, such as Boston. Beginning in April, the neighboring Guest House operated by the friars, will be open again. Both monastery and Guest House details are on the Guest House website.
Masses are offered weekdays at 7:30 a.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.; and Sunday, 8, 10  and 11:15 a.m.
Why to go: The Friars welcome visitors to view the quiet beauty of riverside walking paths, English-style gardens, woodlands, and outdoor chapels. The walking path is paved, has views of the river, and benches. A “Walking Tour of the Shrines” brochure is available at the Franciscan Guest House front desk.
Originally the site was a private estate, with landscaping organized by Frederick Law Olmsted Brothers, designers of Central Park in New York City.
In 1947,  the Lithuanian Friars of St. Casimir who had fled the Soviet Invasion of Lithuania, bought the estate. It became a religious center for the friars, the Lithuanian diaspora, and many others.
In the 1950s the friars built St. Anthony’s high school primarily for boys of Lithuanian Heritage, and it remained open until 1969. Some of the friars who served as both administrators and teachers still live at the monastery.  When the high school closed, the property became a year round hotel, guest house and retreat center.
The friars’ Lithuanian heritage lives on in guest house breakfast breads, through informal language lessons for the guests, and in cultural events throughout the year.
Amenities: A gift shop is located under the chapel and is open from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 pm daily from March 1 to Dec. 31.
(Grand) Kid friendly: Absolutely.
Info: Address —  Franciscan Guest House, 26 Beach Ave., Kennebunkport, ME 04043
Phone — 207/967-4865
Website —
— CNS; Sharon Boehlefeld contributed to this story.
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