The Ascension of Our Lord
from the Verdun Altar
Pilgrimage to Austria & Hungary
(May 9-16, 2004)
Fifteen intrepid pilgrims from America made their way to Central Europe to visit the sites of two historically Catholic countries. The pilgrims arrived in Budapest on Monday, May 9th and were met by Dom Elias, who provided the spiritual guidance for the group. The group strolled around Pest, making a visit to the church of St. Stephen to honor the Apostolic King of Hungary. The next day the pilgrims beheld the St. Matthias church and the castle district of old Buda, concluding their activities with the celebration of the Mass at the Marian shrine of our Lady of Remete.
The Hungarian Parliament as seen from Buda
The miraculous image of our Lady of Remete.
On Wednesday the group departed Budapest, driving northwards to Ezstergom, the seat of the Primate of Hungary. Along the way we passed by the remains of the once flourishing Roman settlements of Pannonia.
In front of the Cathedral of Ezstergom
After celebrating Mass, praying for the Hungarian people and the canonization of Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, the group departed for the baroque market town of Györ, where the pilgrims had the opportunity to pray before another miraculous image of our Lady. This Irish Madonna shed tears for the faithful of Ireland during a fresh outbreak of persecution in the late 17th Century. The group also venerated the relics of the blessed William Apor, the local bishop who was martyred by the Communists during Soviet occupation of Hungary after World War Two.
The third order Carmelites with Dom Elias in front of the Carmelite church in Györ
Our crossing of the border between Hungary and Austria was hastened by the intercession of St. Jude. We had been warned that it could take several hours since we were not EU citizens. However, as it turned out we passed through the border without any delay and arrived in Vienna early, where for dinner we were joined by Dom Maximilian, Dom Bruno and Dom Georg.
The pilgrims at Stift Melk
Thursday morning began inauspiciously with heavy rain and dark skies. There seemed little chance that the sun would appear for our excursion to the Wachau, an extraordinarily picturesque section of the Danube. On the bus we invoked St. Jude again and we were not disappointed. As we arrived at the pilgrim church of Maria Taferl (right) the rain let up. This shrine was at one time a great center of the Catholic reformation for the surrounding region.
We moved onto Stift Melk, the magnificent Benedictine monastery and crown jewel of the Austrian baroque abbeys. We toured the museum, the marble hall and the church, where we prayed midday prayer with the monks.
Following the tour, we ate lunch at the Stiftskeller and proceeded thereafter to our cruise on the Danube. Though windy, we were greeted by the sun, which broke through the clouds now and again. We arrived later in Dürnstein, the home at one time to a small house of canons regular (left). It was in the spectacular blue church that we celebrated the Mass and afterwards visit the museum dedicated to the canons regular of St. Augustine.
Friday was spent entirely at Stift Klosterneuburg, where the pilgrims were given a glimpse of the life of the canons regular and a chance to see the spiritual, artistic and cultural treasures of this great abbey. In the morning Dom Georg and Dom Elias showed the pilgrims the treasury, the church and the cloister.
Ed Miller reading at the Mass
In the late morning, the group arrived at the magnificent Verdun altar, where the Mass was celebrated in the presence of the relics of St. Leopold, the patron of the Stift Klosterneuburg. It was indeed a historic event since it was the first time that American pilgrims were able to pray for the foundation of an American house of canons regular at the tomb of St. Leopold. We asked him to intercede for the American foundation and to raise up lay people to cooperate with the canons regular in America as he himself had done in Austria nearly 900 years ago.
Mass before the Verdun Altar
Following Mass the group took a stroll around the grounds of the Stift, visiting the garden, the Orangerie and seeing some of the outer buildings.
The pilgrims, wearied by the rigors of touring,
take a moment of rest in the garden
After a full morning of touring, the group enjoyed a typical Viennese lunch in the Stifts' cafe. In the afternoon, the group proceeded to visit the marble hall, the imperial apartment, the museum and lastly the St. Sebastian church, in which stands the famous Albrecht altar.
Flo & Joe Ciarcia intrepidly tackling the stairs.
Our last stop of the day was the all important wine tasting at the Stift's Vinothek. Here the pilgrims were rewarded for their day's hard labors with a chance to sample many of the Stift's fine wines. Dom Bruno joined the group and everyone experienced the joy about which the psalmist speaks when he praises God for giving us wine, which gladdens men's hearts (Ps. 104:15).
Edith Jelitto introduces the group to the wines of Stift Klosterneuburg
Ana Ryu & Vilma Suguitan enjoying the Gemütlichkeit (cheerfulness) of the wine tasting.
Ed & Dolores Miller, Pat Johnson, Terry Carr, Mary Bennett & Helen Gesiotto
Tour leader Matt Carr praising the St. Laurent Ausstich
Comfort Lartey, Jim Jenkins & Amy Welsh consult about the wine, while Ana Ryu looks on.
On Saturday the group undertook a walking tour of Vienna, beginning with the giant flea market and Naschmarkt. They proceeded on to visit the St. Stephen's cathedral, the Capuchin Church, where the imperial crypt and the blessed Marco d'Aviano are located, and to promenade along the famous Kärntnerstrasse and Graben. In the afternoon the group visited the summer palace of the Habsburg, the Schönbrunn.
After a free evening on Saturday, the group set out early on Sunday morning to visit the gothic abbey of Heiligenkreuz (the Holy Cross). This Cisterician abbey was founded by St. Leopold in 1133, the same year in which the canons regular came to Stift Klosterneuburg. After a visit to cloister and monatery the pilgrims celebrated their final Mass together with Dom Elias in the crypt chapel of the parish church of the abbey.
The final evening began with the celebration of the anointing of the sick and a reception at Stift Klosterneuburg hosted by Dom Elias, Dom Bruno and Dom Georg. The last stop of the group was at a Heuriger in Grinzing, where we enjoyed our last hours together before having to say good-byes.
The Ciarcias and the Millers
Terry Carr and Jim Jenkins
Dom Bruno, Amy Welch, Brigitte Portelle, Dom Georg, Gray & Comfrot Lartey
I want to say a great big danke schön to all the pilgrims! Thanks for visiting us, praying for us and rejoicing with us. Let us be confident that the Lord will not fail to bring good out of our efforts to serve Him and be sure that one day we shall rejoice forever with one another when we too arrive at our Resurrection.
Priestly Ordination of Dom Pius
On the Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 9, 2004, Deacon Pius Reinhard Feiler, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ in the basilica of the nativity of Our Lady at Stift Klosterneuburg.
The Ordinand follows the Chapter into the church.
We will join him and them in the church
when we receive additional photos.
Approval of the Chapter for Profession of Solemn and Simple Vows
On May 13, 2004 the Chapter of the Stift Klosterneuburg gave its approval for the professions of simple and solemn vows on the solemnity of St. Augustine. On August 28, 2004 during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Dom Lukas and Dom Hugo will profess solemn vows and Dom Maximilian, Dom Bruno and Dom Georg will profess simple vows.
Before taking these important steps these Juniors and Novices will go on retreat during the summer to spend time considering how the Lord is drawing them ever closer to Himself through their vocations as canons regulars.
We ask you to keep them in your prayers.
The Mission of Houses
of Canons Regular
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dom Pius Parsch, the Augustinian canon who made Klosterneuburg famous through his promotion of the renewal of the sacred liturgy and the Bible study.
We are proud to add his paper, "The Mission of the Houses of Canons Regular," to our growing library of documents on the canonical life.