A Pilgrimage to the Marian and Eucharistic Miracle Shrines of Western Europe

Date: 13OCT (Thursday) PADUA –VENICE ISLAND – PADUA. (Day 11)

No wake up call this morning by the Crowne Plaza Hotel here in Padua, Italy but our breakfast was at 7AM. After breakfast we prepared ourselves for our visit to Venice, Italy.

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated across a group of 117 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges. These are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a World Heritage Site.

In 2014, 264,579 people resided in Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico). Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), with a total population of 2.6 million. PATREVE is only a statistical metropolitan area without any degree of autonomy.

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante,” “Serenissima,” “Queen of the Adriatic,” “City of Water,” “City of Masks,” “City of Bridges,” “The Floating City,” and “City of Canals.”

We left Crowne Plaza Hotel at 8:40AM bound for Venice Mestre Trochetto Pier. We reachedimg_20161013_093818 the pier at 9:25AM; from the sea port, at 9:40AM, we rode on a sailing boat that took us to Venice Island and reached Venice at around 10:08AM. The tour started with Lucia as our local tour guide for a walking tour starting at the Piazza San Marco, world-famous marble square lined with shops, charming cafes, and galleries. She explained the significance that surrounded Venice Island.  We visit the Doge’s Palace; Bridge of Sighs, and the magnificent Basilica of St. Mark with the mixtures of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic styles which reflects the history of Venice and ended at 12:05PM. The Basilica was built to honor the body of St. Mark brought from Alexandria in Egypt.

Then we went to a glass factory and were able to see how a glass was being made manually. And the rest of the afternoon before we went back to Padua was a leisure time. We had our lunch (the cost of my lunch was at 8,50 Euro in Café Lavena, San Marco, Venezia), and bought something T-shirts, key chains and others. And then at 2:40PM took the ferry back to Venice Mestre Trochetto Pier and return to Padua. We reached the pier at 3:05PM.

But this morning, when we proceeded to Venice Mestre Trochetto Pier from Crowne Plaza Hotel, we prayed our Morning Prayer and then Bible bullets were distributed and I got this one: “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers,” (Matthew 5:11).


Sign at the door of the Basilica of Santa Giustina

We left the pier for Padua at 3:30PM; arrived in Padua at 4:10PM and started the tour at 4:40PM. We visited first the Basilica of Santa Giustina, which was built in the 6th century. Its present shape derives from construction in the 17th century. This basilica houses the remains of St.Justina of Padua (d. 7 October 304), the patron saint of Padua, and of other Christian martyrs of the city. The building, with its lavish decorations, was described in 565 in a Life of St. Martin written by Venantius Fortunatus. By the 10th century, the presence of a monastic community which served the many pilgrims who came to the basilica to pray to the saints whose relics were contained there is seen in the decision of the Bishop of Padua in 971 to place the community under the Rule of St. Benedict. It was here Christianity in Padua started.

The basilica complex was devastated in 1117 by a massive earthquake which wreaked havoc throughout northern Italy and Germany. After the basilica was rebuilt, excavations resumed and in 1174 the remains as that of Saint Luke the Evangelist was identified in 1177.

The huge Basilica of Santa Giustina dominates to the south of the Prato della Valle. The imposing brick church was built in its present form in the 17th century and is dedicated to Saint Giustina, the patron saint of Padua. Giustina was executed in the 4th century in Padua at the age of 16 and has her grave in the Basilica di Santa Giustina along with several other martyrs and Luke the Evangelist. As with most of the other major churches in Padua, the exterior façade is unfortunately not finished, but that only slightly diminishes the visual effect of the gigantic building with its eight domes.

Right of the main altar you can reach the Chapel of St. Massimo, from where you can enter corridor of the masses. From there, a small door branches off to the right into the chapel of St. Luke. Here lies Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the world’s first woman with a PhD. The old choir, which is adjacent to the major corridor, can be visited only with special permission.


Minor Basilica of St. Anthony of Padova, Italy

After visiting the huge Basilica of Santa Giustina, we walked all through to the the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua (Italian: Basilica Pontificia di Sant’Antonio di Padova), a minor basilica in Padua, northern Italy. Although the Basilica is visited as a place of pilgrimage by people from all over the world, it is not the titular cathedral of the city, a title belonging to the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Mary of Padua. The basilica is known locally as “il Santo”. It is one of the eight international shrines recognized by the Holy See.

Construction of the Basilica probably began around 1232, just one year after the death of St. Anthony. It was completed in 1310 although several structural modifications (including the falling of the ambulatory and the construction of a new choir screen) took place between the end of the 14th and the mid 15th century. The Saint, according to his will, had been buried in the small church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, probably dating from the late 12th century and near which a convent was founded by him in 1229. This church was incorporated into the present basilica as the Cappella della Madonna Mora (Chapel of the Dark Madonna).

Near the main altar of the minor basilica, lies the tomb of Saint Anthony. Associated with many miracles, St. Anthony was so renowned for his preaching that in the Basilica are his preserved tongue and vocal cords that were discovered incorrupt, although the rest of his body had decayed after death.

Saint Anthony of Padua (ca. 1195 – June 13, 1231) also venerated as Saint Anthony of Lisbon, is a Catholic theologian, preacher, and one of the church’s most popular saints. He was born in Lisbon, Portugal as Fernando Martins de Bulhões to a wealthy family, and died in Padua, Italy.

Anthony’s life-long desire was to bring conversions of Muslims to Christianity. At about the age of 25, he set sail to begin his ministry, but fell ill shortly after arriving in Morocco and was forced to return home to heal. However, his ship was blown off course and Anthony landed in Sicily, where he discovered that he was also a brilliant preacher. Combining his skills with the gift of miracles, Anthony was recognized as one of the greatest foes of the heresies of his time. He converted many of these heretics, rich and poor, common and noble, to the faith, and was given the title “Hammer of the Heretics.”

Today, Saint Anthony of Padua is venerated today as one of the greatest Franciscan saints. Canonized in 1232, his Feast Day is June 13, and he is considered by the Catholic Church to be the patron saint of barren women, lost articles, the poor, and travelers.

After our visit to the minor basilica, we went back to the bus at 6:42PM; drove back to our hotel, Crowne Plaza, and arrived there at 7:42PM; fixed something, had our dinner and drank some wine because we didn’t have our Mass due to the non-availability of a room in the hotel. But it rained during our visit to the two basilicas in Padova, Italy.

The distance from Padua/Padova to Venice is 39 kilometers.

For more pictures, please see this link:   My facebook

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