ROME, Italy -- Twenty-five Wounded Warriors and their Family members participated in a spiritual fitness pilgrimage to Rome, Italy, from 8-13 April. The highlight of the pilgrimage was a general audience with Pope Francis I, the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church. The Pope offered his prayers for healing for these Warriors and later greeted and blessed each Warrior and Family member.

Chaplain (Captain) Eric Dean, Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe, led the pilgrimage as an initiative to promote healing the spiritual and moral wounds of war. The pilgrimage included a tour of the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Forum, the Catacombs, and several churches with historical significance.

Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Galuszka, Commander of the WTB-Europe, said "The spiritual retreats we do for Soldiers and staff in the WTB-E play a big part in achieving of the healing and rehabilitating goals that we are striving to reach, as well as helping us all improve our personal resiliency."

One Soldier said the pilgrimage changed his faith. "When I got home from my deployment, I gave up on religion," he said. "That was four years ago. This trip, however, caused me to want to explore my faith again."