Over the years, the churches and the route included on the Catholic Youth Ministry pilgrimage have changed, but one thing remains unchanged. Each year, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, Bishop Malooly walks with young people from throughout the diocese around the city of Wilmington in a display of their faith before the holiest day on the church calendar.
The theme this year is “Pilgrimage 2019: Journey to the Kingdom.” This one is noteworthy for a few reasons. First, it is the 10th anniversary of the pilgrimage, a tradition brought to Wilmington by Bishop Malooly, modeled after a similar event in his native Archdiocese of Baltimore. Second, the bishop has submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, as required after his 75th birthday, and it is unclear whether he will still be leading the diocese at Easter next year.
On its website, CYM says it hopes to get 1,000 “youth, young adults and families” to register for the pilgrimage. They will take turns carrying the large pilgrimage cross through along city streets, scheduled to make stops at four parishes, St. Francis Hospital and Padua Academy.
The day will begin at the St. E Center at St. Elizabeth Parish, where speaker and musician Ben Walther will offer the opening prayer and entertainment. Walther spent many years working with faith groups, and more recently was a teacher. He now pursues music and ministry full-time.
The group will arrive April 13 at St. Francis Hospital at noon for a litany of the saints, then continue to St. Anthony of Padua Parish for reconciliation and lunch. Priests from around the diocese will be available to celebrate the sacrament. After lunch, the group moves to Padua, where Stations of the Cross will be held.
St. Paul Parish is the location of adoration, followed by the blessing of palms at St. Hedwig Parish. The group will arrive back at St. Elizabeth in time for 5 p.m. Mass.
Registration is required and is open until April 5. All pilgrims are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to assist Catholic Charities’ Stock the Pantry effort. Long-sleeve t-shirts are available for purchase through the CYM office to wear during the pilgrimage. They are navy blue with the CYM logo on the front left pocket.
More information is available at https://www.cdowcym.org/events/detail/pilgrimage-2019-journey-to-the-kingdom.