Pilgrims of Hope
Original text: Pierangelo Sequeri
English translation: Andrew Wadsworth

Recording performed by the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC – Peter Latona, Director

Like a flame my hope is burning,
may my song arise to you:
Source of life that has no ending,
on life’s path I trust in you.

Ev’ry nation, tongue, and people
find a light within your Word.
Scattered fragile sons and daughters
find a home in your dear Son.


God, so tender and so patient,
dawn of hope, you care for all.
Heav’n and earth are recreated
by the Spirit of Life set free.


Raise your eyes, the wind is blowing,
for our God is born in time.
Son made man for you and many
who will find the way in him.


Often, while walking along, a song will come to mind that seems to express how we are feeling. This is also true for the life of faith, a pilgrimage toward the light of the Risen Lord. The Sacred Scriptures are steeped in song, and the Psalms are a striking example: the prayers of the people of Israel were written to be sung, and it was in song that the most human events were presented before the Lord. The tradition of the Church has continued this, making music and song one of the lungs of its liturgy. The Jubilee, which in itself is expressed as an event of people on pilgrimage to the Holy Door, also uses song as one of the ways of expressing its motto, “Pilgrims of Hope”.

Many themes of the Holy Year are woven into the text written by Pierangelo Sequeri and set to music by Francesco Meneghello. First of all, the motto, “Pilgrims of Hope”, is best echoed biblically in some pages from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 60). The themes of creation, fraternity, God’s tenderness and hope in our destination resonate in a language, which although not “technically” theological, is in substance and the allusions so that it rings eloquently in the ears of our time.

With each step of their daily pilgrimage, believers trustingly rely on the source of Life. The song that arises spontaneously during the journey (cf. Augustine, Discourses, 256) is directed to God. It is a song charged with the hope of being freed and supported. It is a song imbued with the hope that it will reach the ears of the One from whom all things flow. It is God who as an ever-living flame keeps hope burning and energizes the steps of the people as they journey.

The prophet Isaiah repeatedly sees the family of men and women, sons and daughters, returning from their scattered ways, gathered in the light of God’s Word: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Is 9:2). The light is that of the Son who became Man, Jesus, who by His own Word gathers every people and nation. The living flame of Jesus stirs the step: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Is 60:1).

Christian hope is dynamic and enlightens the pilgrimage of life, revealing the faces of brothers, sisters and companions on the journey. It is not a roaming of lone wolves, but a journey of people, confident and joyful, moving toward a New destination. The breath of the Spirit of life does not fail to brighten the dawn of the future that is about to arise. The heavenly Father patiently and tenderly watches over the pilgrimage of his children and opens wide the Way for them, pointing to Jesus, his Son, who becomes a pathway for everyone.