Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Vatican City

Seminarians see Rome

Published July 18, 2013

Father Tim Hepburn, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, recently traveled to Rome along with seven seminarians for the Year of Faith pilgrimage.

Father Tim went with Jorge Carranza, Gerardo Ceballos, Avery Daniel, Jack Knight, Brian Lee, Brian McNavish, and Juan Carlos Pacheco. They joined a global community of seminarians who all gathered in Rome for the event, titled “Pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter of Seminarians, Novices, and those on a Vocational Journey.”

Juan Carlos Pacheco also had a close encounter with Pope Francis, as the pontiff greeted the crowd in the general audience hall.

He wrote in an email, “As a first-time pilgrim to the Eternal City, I had no idea what to expect. I was shocked at the beauty of every single church throughout Rome, from the smallest one all the way up to St. Peter’s Basilica. As a Catholic, and even more so as a seminarian, I felt as if I was right at home in the Vatican next to thousands of priests, nuns and friars. The highlight of my trip was our audience with Pope Francis in Paul VI Hall. Along with his inspiring words and humble example of Christian joy I was blessed to be able to shake his hand as he walked by me. The blessing of being able to be so close to the successor of Peter is an unexplainable experience, and I hope to be able to repeat it again another day.”

The pilgrimage, entitled “I Trust in You,” began on Thursday, July 4, and concluded on Sunday, July 7, with Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Square.

Said Father Tim: “The Vatican-sponsored ‘Pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter of Seminarians, Novices, and those on a Vocational Journey’ in Rome was a great blessing for me and for the seven seminarians who attended. I was only able to take seminarians who had never been to Rome, which made it all the more exciting. For me the best part was having opportunities to pray with the Church Universal: seminarians, religious, and priests from all over the world.  I think it gave us all a new sense of how important Jesus is for the world, not just our little corner of it. Every day was a blessing.”