BRISBANE Catholics will be leading an historic pilgrimage to Rome for the canonisation of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II in April.
Brisbane priest Fr Paul Chandler (pictured below) has been nominated as chaplain for the pilgrimage, co-ordinated by Brisbane man and former travel agent Trevor O’Rourke.
The 10-day pilgrimage to Rome includes a walking tour in Assisi, a day-trip to Siena and a visit to the Basilica of St Rita in Cascia.
Entrance to the canonisation at St Peter’s Square will be free and officials expect it will be one of this year’s biggest events.
Fr Chandler said it would be a wonderful chance to witness one of his favourite Catholic role models, Blessed John Paul II who, with Blessed John XXIII, will be “raised as a saint for the Church” on Divine Mercy Sunday.
“It really plunges into the very heart of the Church, to see one of the faithful in Heaven rising to the central call of the Church, the pursuit of holiness and sainthood,” he said.
“We’re hoping anybody who’s never been to a canonisation might come, or anyone interested in visiting Rome, or (has) an interest in or devotion to the popes, or even to see Pope Francis in the flesh.”
Catholic convert and travel industry expert with 40 years’ experience Kathryn O’Connor is the brains behind the organisation for April’s pilgrimage.
She founded O’Connor Travel World, the agency that is co-ordinating the canonisation pilgrimage, after a conversion experience in 1990.
“I had a massive conversion in Medjugorje, and I knew from then on all I needed to do was help bring souls back to Our Lady’s son,” Ms O’Connor said.
She said anybody open to attending the pilgrimage should contact O’Connor World Travel.
Pilgrims will depart from Australia on April 21.
Contact O’Connor World Travel for more information or to book your ticket on (03) 9830 5489 or email Kathryn@oconnortravelworld.com.