Group Gears Pilgrimages for Americans

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ROME, MARCH 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Affordable trips and guaranteed departures are now available to North American pilgrims through the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.



The ORP is sponsored by the Vicariate of Rome. In collaboration with SkyLink, a center for online airline tickets, the destination sites for the new program include Rome, the Holy Land and other biblical and Marian locations.

Father Caesar Atuire, the ORP's general director, said: "This initiative is a part of a five-year plan to give back to Rome its characteristic as the world capital for religious tourism and pilgrimages."

Explaining how the pilgrimages will work, Father Atuire said: "Usually we have the pilgrims arrive on Tuesday evening, so that they can participate on Wednesday in the Holy Father's general audience and then leave Thursday morning for the Holy Land, where they will spend seven days before returning to America."

"All of this will cost less than €2,000 [$2,600]," he said. "Our intention is to make it available to the largest number of persons possible."

The ORP counts on about 900 priests for spiritual assistance for the pilgrims, and 400 lay assistants and technical directors.