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Follow Your Seminarians on Their Pilgrimage of Faith

Each spring, Sacred Heart’s first-year graduate seminarians make a four-week spiritual pilgrimage to either the Holy Land or to the holy shrines of Europe. This “Desert Formation Experience” is a unique and unrepeatable opportunity for seminarians to discern more deeply their sacred calling to the priesthood.


On Wednesday, May 1, fourteen seminarians received a blessing from rector Msgr. Todd Lajiness and departed from Detroit to begin their pilgrimage of faith and formation. This year, they are travelling with formation directors Fr. Daniel Trapp and Fr. Stephen Burr to the holy sites of Europe, to “walk in the footsteps of the saints," seeking their wisdom and inspiration. Highlights of the pilgrimage are visits to Fatima, Portugal; the Spanish shrines at Santiago de Compostela, Avila, Toledo, Manresa and Zaragoza; Lourdes, Ars and Paray Le Monial in France; and Assisi, Italy. They end the journey with the saints on May 31 after spending six day in the holy city of Rome.


Each day, the pilgrims will celebrate Mass and pray for the Desert Formation Experience benefactors. They also will receive regular spiritual talks given by the formators. The men will grow to understand more profoundly how the priesthood is essentially a “pilgrimage of faith” they are being called to walk in union with Jesus and his Church. At Rome, the pilgrims will be blessed with an audience with Pope Francis and be given a tour of the Vatican Secretary of State’s office by former Sacred Heart faculty member Msgr. Daniel Gallagher, who now is assigned to the Vatican as a papal Latinist.


You can follow the pilgrims as they share their ongoing insights and experiences through their blog You are invited to pray for them and share your encouragement on the site.