Life is a journey on which we seek our true and lasting home in Heaven. Many religions encourage pilgrimages to emphasize this. For Christians, the greatest of pilgrimages is to the Holy Land or to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome. Many of us find it difficult to undertake such a trip due to expense and other obligations.
In 2009 the Cathedral of Saint Paul was designated as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul to be a privileged place of pilgrimage for the United States. in 2012, the Vatican established a “bond of spiritual affinity” between the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome and our Cathedral. This means that we can make a pilgrimage here and enjoy all the spiritual benefits as if we were able to pray at the tomb of the Apostle Paul in Rome.
As a sign of this spiritual closeness, the Cathedral has received the gift of a stone taken from the ancient wall surrounding the tomb of Saint Paul. This precious relic was on display in the Cathedral’s sanctuary throughout the day on Sunday, May 20, 2012 to celebrate this newly-established “bond of spiritual affinity.” May Saint Paul continue to inspire us and intercede for us to become ever more faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus!
Original Letter from the Apostolic Penitentiary