It has been a tradition for students at Seton Hall University to spend Spring Break in Italy - a total immersion in the culture of Italy, exploring history and theology. This year, Dr. Ines Murzaku will lead Seton Hall University students in exploring the history and theology of a special cohort of Italian saints.
The first stop will be Manoppello in Abruzzo, to visit the Shrine of the Holy Face, which houses an image of the face of Christ, believed to be the Veil of Veronica. The second stop will be Lanciano, a town in the province of Chieti where students will visit the site of the 8th-century miracle of Lanciano, believed to be the greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church, in which the host miraculously changed into physical flesh and the wine into physical blood. The next stop will allow the students to follow in the footsteps of a modern saint. This third city is San Giovanni Rotondo, where the students will visit the tomb of San Pio and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Padre Pio is one of the most celebrated saints in modern Catholicism, who, like St. Francis of Assisi, received the stigmata. The saint is known for being a formidable confessor – he would spend up to 16 hours a day hearing confessions. He was beatified on May 2, 1999, and canonized on June 16, 2002, by Pope John Paul II. The next stop for the Seton Hall students will be Loreto, a town to the south of Ancona and one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy. It is inland from the Adriatic coast in the Marche region of central Italy and houses what is believed to be "The Holy House of the Virgin Mary," which was transported from Nazareth to Italy in December 1294. Visiting Assisi, the famous city of St. Francis and St. Clare, will be a real treat for students. Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare, the porziuncola (little church), and the Church of San Damiano are all part of the medieval history of the Church with which students are familiar through reading primary sources including letters that St. Clare wrote to St. Agnes of Hungary.
The students would not want to miss a chance to visit the hometown of St. Catherine of Siena, mystic and doctor of the Church, so Siena is the next stop on the pilgrimage. After this, the students will travel to Orvieto in Umbria, central Italy, one of the hidden treasures of Italy, to visit a 14th-century cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The pilgrimage will end with six days in Rome, where the students will visit the places saints lived and were martyred.
This is, in a nutshell, where Seton Hall University students led by Dr. Murzaku will be spending their Spring Break 2019.
About Catholic Studies:
The Catholic Studies Program at Seton Hall University offers an innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum for students of any creed who are interested in deepening their knowledge of Catholicism's rich intellectual tradition and living heritage. Combining the study of history, philosophy, theology, literature, art, sociology, and other disciplines, Catholic Studies focuses on the church's dialogue with culture and encounter with the world. Students interested in Catholic Studies have the option to pursue a major, minor, or certificate that complements and enhances the university's other degree programs and fields of study. Over 20 years the academic program and its variegated activities have stayed true to and fulfilled the Catholic mission and vision of the University.