Sunday, June 21: at midnight Rome's traditionalist youth set out on their first all-night pilgrimage from Rome's historic center to the famed Divino Amore shrine located just outside the city. The event was sponsored by JUVENTUTEM (see here: http://www.juventutem.org/) and was a celebration of the fruits of 2007's Summorum Pontificum.
The youth began at St. Mary Major and hiked about 25 km to the shrine. The route chosen was the most scenic - down the ancient Via Appia Antica and then through the winding cropland of the Roman countryside. The youth were guided by a GPS unit and a few breaks were taken to eat and rest in the grass.
All agreed that to walk the ancient cobblestones in the dark while praying the Holy Rosary and singing songs and a litany - all in Latin - was a source of great joy and consolation. The stars shone above in the dark night and the Lord sent a gentle summer breeze. It was the same night of the annual Rome night marathon and the smell of the pines of Rome was in the air.
At dawn the Roman countryside lit up, and then it rained. The youth could even see perched on the horizon the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo. Then the group took an old gravel and dirt shepherd trail which led to the shrine and Holy Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite in one of the shrine chapels. It was a very special event.
Participants came from Italy, Norway, Mexico and the United States with chaplains from Brazil and Italy.