Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 2

June 20th, 2015, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink


Buon giorno! We arrived safely in Roma this morning and met up with our local tour guides. We then headed out for our first stop, the town of Boville. I’m fairly certain that no other tour group, perhaps ever, has gone to the town of Boville. To understand why, I’ll take this moment to explain the main reason for this particular pilgrimage.

Our pilgrimage is being led by a group of consecrated women known as the Apostles of the Interior Life (AVI in the Italian abbreviation). They were founded in Rome 25 years ago and the pilgrimage is in celebration of this anniversary. It’s also a sort of anniversary for me as well. It was twelve years ago that I first met the sisters on a pilgrimage to Italy very similar to our present itinerary. It was on that pilgrimage that I decided to enter seminary, thanks in part to the counsel of a very holy woman, Sr. Susan, who has been my spiritual director ever since. More on that story later.


Back to Boville. This was the home of a little boy named Amerigo without whom the Apostles would likely have never come to the United States. Amerigo died when he was 6 years old in Rome. At the time, an American seminarian assigned to the hospital met one of the sisters who was also caring for the family. Eventually this seminarian would become a priest in Peoria, IL and would be instrumental in getting the Apostles to found their first house at the University of Illinois. The sisters say they wouldn’t be here in America with Amerigo and consider him a sort of spiritual intercessor for their movement. That’s a pretty providential name go along with role too!

In Boville we visited the grave of Amerigo and prayed there. We then had Mass with Amerigo’s parents. The parish church was filled to capacity with a large number of the townspeople wanting to meet us and pray with us.
We were then truly blessed to be treated to a wonderful Italian dinner complete with over 6 different courses. I remember this experience well when I first arrived in Italy 12 years ago. You have to pace yourself. Every time you think the last course has arrived, there’s more. It was such an amazing lunch that we actually canceled our dinner at our hotel tonight. Speaking of which, our final destination tonight is San Giovanni Rotondo, the home of St. Pio of Pietralcina, better known as “Padre Pio.” It’s late and we’re here for two days, so more about him tomorrow. Buona note for now.

See More Day 2 Pictures

3 Responses to AVI Italian Pilgrimage – Day 2

  1. Ronald Rader

    Thank you very much for keeping us poor home bound people updated. Love the photos.

  2. Lisa Albers

    Thank you for the beautiful story and what a wonderful start to your pilgrimage. Have a beautiful journey and may the grace and joy of our Lord be with you and your travel companions!

  3. Bob/Kathy Dorst

    Wonderful, keep it up, praying all keep healthy!

    Pray to St. Pio for us! Love him, and he has been a spiritual father to me for years. Hence, we have the 2 1/2 ft. statute of him!

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