On the way to Easter

Rev. Dr. Martin Mayerhofer, Associate Professor of Patristics and Church History and Associate Chaplain of the ITI, with a group of students embarked upon two pilgrimages in the days leading up to Holy Week and Easter. The first trip was from the ITI Campus to the Basilica Minor of Maria Dolorosa in Lorreto, Burgenland and was in honor of the Solemnity of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Two days later, the second pilgrimage was made in conjunction with the Vienna Catholic University Association Alumni Group, where Fr. Mayerhofer earlier served as the University Chaplain. It began in Vienna and finished at the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, Lower Austria. Both days were filled with the beauty of nature, fellowship, Lenten reflections, and culminated in the splendor of Holy Mass.

One of the strongest elements of the ITI is its family-like community. Many students are far from home, some for the first time. This year, due to the travel restrictions, most of them could not go home, in order to celebrate the greatest of all feasts together with their families. For Easter break they had to remain on Campus. Living in close quarters, sharing classes, daily liturgies and social events creates deep bonds. Yet, with all this time together, students consistently say these pilgrimage days, when they intentionally set apart time to honor Our Lord and Lady, are what most bond them together. The graces received are palpable. During these times of Covid-19 students are grateful for such opportunities to behold the face of Christ in their neighbor and truly see the beauty of the Body of Christ in a lived and meaningful way.