The diocesan Marian Pilgrimage is back at Holy Spirit Parish in New Castle on Oct. 6, alternating, as it does, between the diocese and Washington, D.C. This year, however, is a special edition because the Diocese of Wilmington is celebrating its sesquicentennial..
As part of the celebration, a painting of Mary was commissioned and will be unveiled at the pilgrimage. Our Lady of Wilmington, by Pennsylvania artist Neilson Carlin, depicts Our Lady overlooking Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The image will be on display throughout the day and will be blessed after Bishop Malooly’s homily at the end of the daylong pilgrimage, but that is only part of the activities.
Father Brian Lewis, associate pastor at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Parish in Greenville and coordinator of the Marian pilgrimage, said the day is a way to follow God’s lead.
“We’re called to follow God’s mercy in all things,” Father Lewis said. “He leads with love, and he leads with mercy, and he leads with peace. And he leads by giving us his son, our savior, through one woman, and that woman in particular is our lady Mary. He chose her, and made her his perfect creation, that we might have salvation through her. And so we simply follow God’s lead. We honor her, love her as he loves her, and we are grateful for such a mother and such a gift.”
The day begins at 9 a.m. with an opening Mass, and panel presentations begin an hour later. Instead of one keynote speaker, this year priests of the diocese will speak about why Mary is the cause of their joy for the priesthood, he said.
“That’s the theme for this year’s pilgrimage, ‘Mary: Cause of Our Joy,’” Father Lewis said.
After the first panel with the priests and lunch, there will be a half hour of Marian chants performed by an a cappella group, followed by a living rosary. The second panel with the priests then takes place.
After a short break, there will be Eucharistic adoration and confessions, and the closing liturgy with Bishop Malooly.
“Our Lady of Wilmington” will be on display throughout the day, and limited-edition lithographs will be available for purchase, as will a “more accessible” print, Father Lewis said.
There is no charge to attend, and people are encouraged to come for all or part of the day. They are asked to bring a bag lunch, although Holy Spirit will provide refreshments.
For more information, Father Lewis suggests contacting parish liaisons.