Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Benedict, Rebuild My Church...."

To mark the 800th anniversary of the famous exhortation which Francis of Assisi received from the San Damiano Cross, Benedict XVI will retrace the footsteps of the Poverello at the end of September, making the hour's trip north from Rome.

"He's expressed to me his strong desire to come to Assisi," newly-installed Archbishop-Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino told an Italian wire service.

The trip will commemorate both the octocentenary of the "Rebuild my church" message -- to which Francis' conversion and the founding of his spiritual family is attributed -- and the 20th anniversary of the first World Day of Prayer for Peace, held by John Paul II with numerous global religious leaders in 1986.

Unlike that trip, however, no interreligious component has been worked into the plans -- still unconfirmed by the Holy See -- for a fall pilgrimage.

So if you're looking for a repeat of the stories (however apocryphal) of chickens being sacrificed on the altars of Assisi's great shrines, think again.