Hundreds of people converged on Holy Spirit Parish in New Castle Oct. 1 for the Biannual Marian Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace.
The chilly, damp morning and afternoon did not deter parishioners from throughout the diocese who attended a morning Mass and a presentation by Kate Capato, an artist from the Philadelphia area who specializes in sacred art and spoke about beauty and symbology in Marian art.
The afternoon featured a presentation from Rwandan massacre survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza. After her talk, the author greeted pilgrims and signed copies of her book, “Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.”
One local woman, Lynne Sadusky, a parishioner at Church of the Holy Cross in Dover, was inspired by her interaction with the author.
In 1994, nearly a million men, women and children were slaughtered when the Hutu turned against the Tutsi, their fellow countrymen. Most were hacked to death with machetes, leaving a trail of despair and carnage that still reverberates across the African continent three decades later.
The angry mob was outside a bathroom door searching for the then-22-year-old engineering student. “Where is she?” they yelled. Five inches and a wooden door were all that separated them, but the door did not open, and the men went away.
“An amazing, holy woman,” Sadusky said.
Bishop Koenig concelebrated the vigil Mass to close the event with Father Brian Lewis, coordinator of the annual pilgrimage, and Father Timothy Nolan, pastor at Holy Spirit.
In remarks at the end of Mass, Father Lewis offered “peace, love and joy” using the favorite greeting of the late Msgr. Joseph Rebman, the longtime Marian pilgrimage coordinator. Father Lewis cited Msgr. Rebman’s leadership in the success of the pilgrimage and acknowledged and welcomed Msgr. Rebman’s sister, Mary Forester.
Msgr. Rebman died Oct. 3, 2021, at the age of 85.