Home Catechetical Corner Marian Pilgrimage to national shrine Oct. 5 offers path to grow and...

Marian Pilgrimage to national shrine Oct. 5 offers path to grow and sustain faith

Mosaic tiles depicting the Immaculate Conception and various saints are seen in the Trinity Dome at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

It’s always good to visit Mother once in a while, and the annual Diocese of Wilmington’s Marian Pilgrimage gives Delaware and Maryland Eastern Shore Catholics an opportunity to do just that – visit our Blessed Mother.

Bishop Malooly reconsecrated the Diocese of Wilmington to Mary’s Immaculate Heart at Our Lady Queen of Peace at Holy Spirit Church in New Castle on Aug. 19.
Dialog photo/Joseph P. Owens

In odd-numbered years — like this one — pilgrims travel to Washington to visit Our Lady at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Marian Pilgrimage takes place at the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace on the campus of Holy Spirit Church in New Castle in even years.

Slated for Oct. 5, pilgrims will have an opportunity to explore the Basilica Shrine — the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America and one of the ten largest churches in the world. The day includes confessions, rosary, Holy Hour, and concludes with a concelebrated Mass with Bishop Malooly presiding.

“Motor coaches will arrive at the Basilica Shrine at 10 a.m.,” said Father Brian Lewis, diocesan pilgrimage coordinator. “At 10:15 we gather in the crypt church to be welcomed by the pilgrimage coordinator there, as well as the rector of the Basilica Shrine, and from there we will have the opportunity to either take individual tours or docent-guided tours throughout the Basilica Shrine.”

Pilgrims will have the opportunity to go outdoors to pray in the Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Garden, or visit the nearby Saint John Paul II National Shrine, or the Caldwell Chapel on the campus of Catholic University, where the Venerable Fulton Sheen prayed each day.
Various transportation options are available. Pilgrims can drive on their own, carpool, take public transportation such as MARC Train from Cecil County and the D.C. Metro Subway, or travel via parish-sponsored bus. Those interested in attending the pilgrimage are asked to contact their Marian Pilgrimage Parish Liaison to see what options are available.
Pilgrims can dine in the Basilica Shrine cafeteria, or bring a bag lunch. The gift shop and book store will also be open.

“Our Lord and God has chosen Mary to bring His one and only begotten son into this world; and so it’s through Mary that we come to Jesus,” Father Lewis said. “In our diocese, consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and under the auspices of Our Lady of Wilmington, we have a deeply abiding relationship with Our Lady. And because of that relationship, we want to honor God’s singular creation, Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of the Assumption, who does everything that she can to bring us closer to her son.”

Father Lewis talks about this year’s Marian Pilgrimage on the Sept. 21 edition of Catholic Forum heard at 11 a.m. on Relevant Radio 640. After it airs, you can listen anytime at cdow.org/CatholicForum or by searching “Catholic Forum” on Apple, Spotify or iHeartRadio podcasts.