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Diocese’s 150th anniversary: ‘A time of joyful thanks to God’


Diocese’s plans for its sesquicentennial anniversary year include Eucharistic Congress, pilgrimages


The Diocese of Wilmington will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year-long observance that will include Masses and prayer services, pilgrimages, a keepsake publication, a traveling exhibit, and a Eucharistic Congress.

The celebration commemorates the March 3, 1868 establishment of the Diocese of Wilmington by Blessed Pope Pius IX.

“The celebration of our sesquicentennial year gives us many opportunities to come together as a diocese to honor our rich past and look to our bright future,” said Bishop Malooly. “Every deanery, parish, church, and 150 CDOW logo RGBCatholic in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore will have an opportunity to participate in 150th anniversary activities. It will be a time of joyful thanks to God for our countless blessings and prayer for the future of the Diocese of Wilmington.”

A sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) committee, composed of clergy and laity, has been planning events for more than a year.

Both an official logo (see above) and an anniversary slogan, “Rejoicing in the Lord since 1868,” will be used leading up to and throughout the year.

The slogan was chosen in honor of Bishop Malooly, whose episcopal motto is “Rejoice in the Lord.”


Pilgrimage to Annecy and Rome

The sesquicentennial year will open with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

In April of that year, a diocesan pilgrimage to Annecy, France, and Rome will take place.

Annecy is both the birthplace and final resting place of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of the diocese. It’s an Alpine town in southeastern France, where Lake Annecy feeds into the Thiou River. Annecy is known for its cobbled streets, winding canals, and pastel-colored houses.

Rome, Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display, including ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum. It is the home of Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, as well as the burial place of Blessed Pope Pius IX, the diocese’s founder.

On Oct. 6, 2018, as part of the sesquicentennial observances, the annual diocesan Marian Pilgrimage will take place at the Our Lady Queen of Peace Shrine at Holy Spirit Church in New Castle.

A Eucharistic Congress is scheduled for the fall in 2018 that will bring Catholics from across Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore together to learn, celebrate, and pray.

In January 2019, services will be held to recognize the contributions of men and women religious, honor St. John Neumann – who ministered in the Diocese of Wilmington, and pray for Christian unity.

The closing sesquicentennial Mass is planned for Sunday, March 3, 2019.

Throughout the 12-month anniversary observance, regional celebrations will be held, as well as pilgrimages to historic churches in the diocese.

A traveling exhibition, featuring diocesan artifacts and historic documents, will be displayed at all the major and regional celebrations. A coffee-table style keepsake book featuring diocesan and parish history and photographs will be published, along with a graphic history of the diocese.

As it becomes available, more detailed information about the 150th anniversary celebration will be posted on the Diocese of Wilmington’s website, www.cdow.org and published in The Dialog.

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