Edmundite Father Charles Ranges, pastor of the Essex Catholic Community, blessed a group of 13 adults/parents and 11 youth who are heading to Rome June 19-28 at a Mass at St. Pius X Church in Essex Junction on June 11. The pilgrims, led by John McMahon —faith formation director — and Chris Dawson — youth minister and parishioner — are leading them to explore the holy city.

“This pilgrimage is for families with recently confirmed youth (grades 7-12) that are interested in exploring their Catholic faith, identity, and connection with our parish community,” McMahon said.

They will walk the Seven-Churches Pilgrimage (Sette Chiese) made famous by St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), have a private tour of the papal palace led by Sister Cecilia — a former parishioner and member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal — attend a papal audience, and take part in a day-long trip to Assisi.

The churches they will visit are St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul’s Basilica, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Lawrence, Holy Cross, and St. Sebastian.

The pilgrims attended a series of classes to prepare for the trip, and the purpose is to experience a renewal in their Catholic faith, which has its foundations in Rome. They will bring with them personal intentions of parishioners and have committed to hold them in prayer.

The pilgrimage theme is Holy Spirit — Open our path with Jesus.

To follow the pilgrimage, go to its blog at seven-church-pilgrimage.blogspot.com.