Catholic Spirituality,  Catholics Do What?,  Life in Italy,  Traveling with Children

Can I pray for you?

Tomorrow morning we head out bright and early with one sweet but angrily-teething baby (who will be assuring our otherwise glamorous trip remains firmly categorized as “pilgrimage”) and 2 suitcases. We’re connecting through NYC and then straight on till Rome. Once we’re on the ground in Italy, we’re headed directly out of town to Napoli (and Pompeii, which my 7th grade ancient-history loving heart is positively atwitter over), and then the rest of the trip is very much oriented toward visiting shrines, churches, and other pilgrimage sites.

We’ll be visiting the Church of Gesu Nuovo on our first day, where lies the body of St. Joseph Moscati (a medical doctor canonized by St. John Paul II.) I’ll be praying there especially for my doctor friends and for a decisive defeat of the physician-assisted suicide bill on the Colorado ballot this fall.

Still in Naples, we head to the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary and learn about Blessed Bartolo Longo, mentioned by name in JPII’s apostolic letter on the rosary as an “apostle of the rosary.” So far the count of “saints I’ve never heard of” stands at 2.

The next morning we head out for Padre Pio’s stomping grounds, Pietrelcina. We’ll be visiting the house where he was born (!), the church where he was baptized, and the church where he celebrated his first mass. Then we head to Piana Romano, the site where he received his stigmata. Finally, we head to San Giovanni Rotondo, where he served as a Franciscan friar for 52 years.

Day 4 is the day I think I’m most excited about, and I’m not even totally sure why. We’re headed to the Grotto of St Michael, which is the oldest shrine in western Europe, a site that St. Francis of Assisi made a pilgrimage to but felt himself unworthy to enter, so he stayed and prayed outside the door. He carved the “tau” cross into the doorpost, which I’m hoping is still visible? But I don’t know. I’d never heard of this place before seeing the itinerary for the trip, but I’ve been crazy excited to visit, even without knowing much about it. Next we head to Lanciano, which my computer wants to correct to “Lansing, Michigan” desperately. Every time. Lanciano is the home to one of the most famous Eucharistic miracles, dating from the 8th century, when a priest doubting the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist said the words of consecration and was astonished to find the bread and wine physically transformed into human flesh and blood. Type O negative, universal donor, to be precise. The flesh is preserved in a reliquary and has been vetted by countless doctors and scientists over the years as the real deal. It’s incredible.

Next we’ll head to Loreto, reportedly the dwelling place of Mary when she was visited by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, (I know, geography…bear with me for a minute) and then where the Hoy Family may have spent their early years. Pious tradition has it that the house was physically transported to Italy from the Holy Land in the 14th century by “angels,” which is sometimes how the Crusaders are referred to in historical writing. I’ll let you know what I think.

Finally, we head “home” to Rome for 4 days. We’ll hit all the usual spots and I’ll be stopping in to St. Peter’s to walk through the Holy Door for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and of course to visit my main man, JPII, where I’ll be leaving all the intentions we’ve carried with us there with him, like we did last time.

If anyone wants to leave specific intentions, please feel free to do so in the comments, or if you want to remain more anonymous you can message them to the Facebook page. (I’ll be updating IG with shots from our trip in the evenings, but staying off social media during the days in the spirit of actually being on pilgrimage.)

Prayers for a sleepy flying baby and healthy, happy kiddos at home with grandma and grandpa much appreciated!
st michael


  • Alyson

    Sounds like an amazing pilgrimage!!! We’ve been carrying the cross of secondary infertility for quite some time. Please pray for us that we may conceive another child and that we would be at peace with the Lord’s timing. Thanks!

  • Hannah

    Wow, what an amazing pilgrimage! Prayers for you and your family throughout your travels! If you could please pray for Tyler in his job hunt. That he can persevere through times of discouragement and that he might know and have the courage to follow the Lord’s will!

  • Kym

    What a wonderful offer! If you would please pray for my mother-in-law Pat. She has been in a vegetative come since January. She is a devout Catholic with 10 children, the youngest is 17. Please pray for her doctors, peace and guidance for our family, and for all families facing difficult medical decisions. Thank you!

  • Kristine

    Please pray for a former neighbor girl who is not living in a safe home. Doing our best to help her, but needing prayers! THANK YOU Prayers for you for safe travel 🙂

  • Brandi

    Have a safe and beautiful trip! Please pray for my faith and that I find my way back to a deep relationship with the Lord. Thank you!

  • Lindsey Vogt

    Every night I pray the same things for my children: that they be safe, healthy, happy, kind and that they know and love Jesus. I would be honored to have this prayer for them brought to the Vatican, along with a heartfelt “Thank you, Jesus!” for my many blessings. I will pray for your pilgrimage and your sweet family! Thank you, thank you!

  • lorna

    I do indeed pray that your journey to begin your pilgrimage goes well (and the return journey too) . I would be honoured if you could pray for mine and other New converts journey in and with faith, and for deepening growing faith in our world in our time.

  • Hannah

    Ohhh praying the baby with you and those at home are on their very best behaviour! I would be grateful if you could pray for my just turned 7 year old son who still regularly soils his underpants, that whatever is causing this developmental delay is resolved before his next birthday. Prayers also for your trip and can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Annie

    I would appreciate it if you could pray for my boss’ son, Christopher, who will be undergoing a biopsy for possible stage four cancer.

  • Tree

    Blessings for a safe trip. Wonderful of you to ask for intentions on your pilgrimage.
    Lift up my Three children, all with learning disabilities and health issues.

  • Ann

    Have a wonderful trip; I can’t wait to read your posts! Would you please pray for my brother’s conversion? Thank you, and God bless!

  • Jaz

    We recently made the decision to homeschool, but are facing a lot of resistance from close family members. I would ask you to pray for them to see the wisdom in this decision.

  • Jane

    Dear Jenny, can you please pray that I NEVER get ANOTHER kidney stone, I have had FIVE of them. 🙁
    Thank you, and I will pray for you, too.

  • Sarah Creagan

    Prayers for your travels! Please pray for my mom who is battling metastasized lung cancer, and for my husband and I as we are trying for our third child. God bless you!

  • Elizabeth

    I have been reading for some time, but never commented. I love your blog! I would like to add an intention. Could you please pray for my husband who is currently serving our country in Afghanistan on an 8 month deployment. Also for a safe delivery of our forth child in his absence in a few weeks. I would really appreciate it! Enjoy your trip, I am sure it will be life changing!

  • Nina

    My husband and I have one beautiful little girl, but are struggling to conceive again. If you could say a prayer for our family, I’d be most grateful, thank you!

  • Sara

    Thank you for offering to pray! Please pray that my daughter finds the courage and strength to see God’s will for her and leaves a bad relationship. May God bless you and keep you safe on your trip!

  • Arenda

    What a marvellous trip. I’ll pray for your little ones, Jenny!
    I would appreciate prayer for our family. My husband just graduated from a Protestant seminary with plans to become a pastor – but in a twist we did not see coming, we’ve just started RCIA and are becoming Catholic. Prayers for a satisfying alternate career for my husband would be much appreciated. 🙂

  • Christy

    Thank you soooo much. If you could pray for all our children’s vocations; for our marriage; for more children; for Kiko and Father Mario; for the students, families, teachers and staff at Our Lady of Lourdes; for our Misio ad Gentes team heading to Sweden. And finally…for me to be a Christian wife and mother and a woman at rest! Have a wonderful trip!!!

  • jeanette

    You are going to many of the same places I have been. It is such a privilege to be able to go to these places that make the roots of our faith come alive.

    I ask your prayers for all of the members of my family who have strayed away from this faith of ours. Thanks for offering to pray for our intentions.

  • Celina Mendel

    What a beautiful pilgrimage! I’d love for you to pray for our family, that we build a strong family and listen to God’s Will in all that we do. I also ask for prayers for my aunt who is dealing with life changing medical issues. Thank you and safe travels!

  • Laurel

    What a wonderful pilgrimage! Praying for your safe travels and many graces upon the way.

    Please pray for your fellow BiS sisters gathering this weekend — we’ll miss you but surely this trip tops it! 😉
    Also, a prayer for my husband, that he finds a new job quickly, one that is a great fit for him.

    Thanks so much and safe travels!

  • Annie S

    Prayers for you and your family for safe and peaceful travels. Please pray for our family who has felt with secondary infertility for 6 years as we begin the adoption process. Thank you!

  • Lynette

    safe travels!! I would appreciate prayers for my pregnancy – my husband and I have longed to start a family for a while and suffered a miscarriage last December. I’m into my second trimester but still worry about this baby and hope it’s healthy. Thanks!!

  • Kristina

    Thank you, Jenny. Prayers for your precious family and for safe travels. Please pray for the following petitions: healing of my husband’s neuro-fibromas, healing for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, especially my hands, for my childrens health, for my brother’s mental illness, for a special intention.

  • Colleen

    I love that you’re sharing your travel charism with us. Prayers for your safety & a fruitful trip! Selfishly, I need prayers to battle fatigue and discipline myself to establish healthy habits. Beyond that, I ask prayers that God give my husband and I more & more clarity on actions we need to take towards a retreat center we feel called to build in the future.

  • Erin

    Please pray that I might have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby while on medication to treat a blood clotting disorder.
    Thank you! God Bless You!

  • Eleanor

    Please pray for my country, the Philippines, that she may be delivered from evil. We live in dangerous times under the present administration. Thank you! May God keep your whole family safe.

  • Anna

    Safe travels! If you would please pray for my husband Brian and I, that we may conceive a child and that we will have peace & strength for God’s plan for our family.

  • Maria

    Have a great trip! Can you please pray for healing for my 4 year old son, Dominics issues which are causing many, many food sensitivities? And healing for my 2 year old son, Nicholass undescended testicle? And healing for my thyroid and other issues would be much appreciated as well! And my husband could use some healing while you’re at it, too. Thank you so much!

  • Cami

    Two local (Springs area) Catholic families could use prayers:

    Joanne is a devout Catholic mother of 10 children, her youngest just 3 mo old. Joanne is battling stage 3 rectal cancer.

    Vince is 5 years old and has been battling brain tumors for most his life. He doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment.

    We are praying for miraculous recoveries for both of these beloved Catholic members of our community.

    Many thanks and have a safe and blessed adventure!

  • Katy J.

    Thank you for offering up our prayers! Three intentions: We need help discerning God’s will for our family so that we may find healing and peace; please also pray for the healing of my 5-year-old son who suffers from a chronic health issue; finally, please pray for my brother, that he finds his way back to the church and accepts the life he’s been called to live. Have a blessed trip!

  • Amanda

    My husband and I are waiting to hear some conclusive news from our doctor about the viability of our first pregnancy. Please pray that we are able to accept God’s will in this situation in whatever form it may take. St. John Paul II, pray for us! Prayers for a safe and joyful journey for your family.

  • Amanda Becker

    Long time reader, rare commenter.

    This trip sounds amazing!

    If you could add my prayer intentions for my husband and his job hunt as he is finishing up his PhD, prayers for our 3rd pregnancy and for the miraculous healing for my distant family member Mary who has Parkinson’s, a blood disorder and a broken hip. She’s in a bad place medically and it would really take a miracle.

    Thank you, this is all greatly appreciated.
    Enjoy your trip, I’ll be praying for you on your journey.

  • Angie

    Please pray for healthy pregnancy and delivery for me and this baby. Also, for my sister-in-law’s mother to recover her health. Thank you so much! I’ll pray for y’all to have a safe and amazing trip.

  • Sarah

    Please pray for my grandmother as she struggles with health issues- that the Drs can figure out what is wrong and how to ease her pain. For my other grandmother- that she will understand just how loved she is, for the easing of her depression, and that the Lord will fill her with a great sense of purpose. For the reversion of my brother and the conversion of my in-laws. For the continued healing of my own health struggles and for my husband and I as we try to conceive our second child. Have a blessed journey Jenny! Thank you!

  • Heidi

    Please pray that my husband would be able to defend his dissertation in Rome within the next year, and that it will bear fruit. Thank you!

  • VIlma

    Thank you so much for taking prayer intentions with you on this pilgrimage! Please pray that my husband find new employment, that we are able to move back home close to family, and for a safe and healthy delivery of our second child in November. God bless!

  • Maeghan

    This intention may be a little late but I’m going to add it anyway. Please pray for a healthy delivery for me and my 3rd baby, little girl. I have had placental complications and issues with severe hemorrhage with my other children.

  • Kate

    What an amazing journey! Praying for you. 🙂

    Please pray for me as I transition to a mom of four (as of a month ago) and for good sleep. Also, for conversion of family as well as continued conversion of our own hearts.

    Thanks for posting updates! Enjoy the rest of your trip!!

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