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      Pilgrims from Central New York visit Sistine Chapel and St. Peterâ??s Basilica

      Gallery of Maps, Vatican City
      The Catholic faithful from the Syracuse area visited the Vatican Museum and St. Peterâ??s Basilica this morning as part of their week long pilgrimage that culminates Sunday with the Canonization of Mother Marianne Cope.

      The highlight of the Vatican Museum was reflective time in the Sistine Chapel viewing the frescoes on the ceiling as painted by Michelangelo in the 16th century. It is considered one of the great works of art. The Chapel is also the location for the conclave of Cardinals when they seclude themselves to elect a new Pope.

      Michelangelo depicted scenes from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, in Sistine Chapel. The pilgrims from the Syracuse area craned their necks to take in the robust color of the bold images.

      Their tour then continued into St. Peterâ??s Basilica. There again the work of Michelangelo is seen in the grand dome on top of the Basilica, but also in the Pieta. It is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus Christ. Unlike the Sistine Chapel which was painted toward the end of Michelangeloâ??s life, the Pieta was sculpted when he was in his early 20â??s.

      The Sisters of St. Francis took another path today. They boarded a bus to Assisi from their Franciscan hotel known as Il Cantico. It is a former orphanage that has been converted to accommodate religious pilgrims. In Assisi they visited the Basilicas of Francis and Clare as they returned to the roots of the Franciscan Order and the home of St. Francis in the 13th century.

      Our Matt Mulcahy is traveling with the pilgrims from Syracuse in Rome and the surrounding areas. He will continue to share their story on NBC 3, CBS 5, CW 6, CNYCentral.com, Facebook and Twitter right through the Canonization Sunday morning.