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Rome, Italy, May 26, 2018 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The 16th century St. Philip Neri is known for joyful holiness and for the foundation of the Congregation of the Oratory, but the legacy he left in Rome can still be traced today, even walking in the saint’s very footsteps.
Called the “Third Apostle of Rome,” Neri came to the city from Florence at a time of religious and cultural upheaval after the Sack of Rome in 1527 and, desiring to be a missionary in India, discovered he was being called to evangelize Rome instead.
Today - Remainders - St - Philip - Neri
Today remainders of St. Philip Neri’s life can still be found in the Eternal City – from the rooms where he started the Oratory, to the churches he prayed in, to the streets he walked.
One well-known tradition Neri began is the Seven Churches Pilgrimage. While still a layman, Neri noticed many people had lost sight of the joy of the Gospel, and therefore started leading “walks” to important churches in Rome.
Mini - Pilgrimages - Music - Laughter - Saint
These mini pilgrimages would include music and laughter, in keeping with the saint’s cheerful personality, and were a way of encouraging young people to discover the faith through visiting historically significant churches in the city.
Many people still go on this urban pilgrimage annually. “It is a way in which you can really grow in faith, not only through the beauty of the churches, but also through the history of the places,” said Carlo Munns, an author and expert on the saint.
St - Philp - Neri - Faith - Mountain
St. Philp Neri felt faith was like “climbing a mountain,” Munns told CNA. “Climbing a mountain by yourself is very dangerous, but if you can do it together, in a community, it’s better.”
He called the “saint of joy,” Munns said, “because he said that faith should be lived in hope and joy.”
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