Brilliant sunshine and a deep, blue sky served as backdrop March 24 for 675 young pilgrims and others who joined arms with Bishop Malooly, spreading a message of God’s love on the streets of Wilmington.
The pilgrimage began in the morning at St. Elizabeth’s and ended in the evening at the same place as congregants filled the church to capacity for a Palm Sunday vigil Mass that completed the daylong activities. Pilgrimage 2018: Walking His Way was the ninth annual event.
The pilgrimage included stops in the city at St. Francis Hospital, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Padua Academy, St. Paul’s and St. Hedwig’s churches.
The pilgrimage is a chance for youth and young adults, specifically those in grades 6 through age 35, their families, and young adults in the diocese to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and his own pilgrimage to Calvary on Good Friday. During the pilgrimage, young people from parishes and schools take turns carrying the cross alongside Bishop Malooly.
A group of young people worked to separate palm outside St. Hedwig’s prior to the arrival of the pilgrimage from St. Paul’s. Bishop Malooly blessed the palm as people waved their branches outside St. Hedwig’s at the corner of South Harrison and Linden streets.
“It’s really about showing our faith, spreading awareness,” said James Mazalewski, a senior at St. Elizabeth’s. Mazalewski, 17, was part of the youth leadership team with the Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Young people worked to help stage the event by serving as ushers, music assistants, cross transfer workers and logistic assistants, he said.
“It was a beautiful day for it,” he said.
Mazalewski said he’s been a part of the pilgrimage since eighth grade and he believes it allows young people to be proud of their faith and provides a chance to grow close to the bishop.
“I’ve known him for a while. We have a lot of stuff in common. He’s such a loving and caring guy.”
Pilgrims brought towels, toiletries, socks, cleaning supplies, or hygiene items as part of the pilgrimage service component, assisting Catholic Charities which serves those who are less fortunate.