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Dayton Hosts Virtual Lenten Pilgrimage in Conjunction with Archdiocesan Bicentennial

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by Kary Ellen Berger

Walking for thousands of miles may not be possible for everyone, but thanks to Region 7’s Lenten Pilgrimages, that idea has been brought to life. For their 2021 Lenten pilgrimage, the parishes of Emmanuel Church, Holy Trinity Church and St. Joseph Church in Dayton decided to keep the journey close to home and connect it with the archdiocese’s bicentennial celebration in 2021.

Reaching each destination is a team effort between the churches with between 20 to 50 parishioners on average logging miles each season. Miles are tracked both physically, and spiritually, with each spiritual activity accounting for a certain number of miles.

The Region 7 parishes began Lenten Pilgrimages in 2013.

“The first Lenten walk was held at Holy Trinity Church in 2005, but the first Region 7 walk was in 2013,” said Sharon Becker, RN, Health Ministries Team, Region 7. “In 2013, we followed the journey of St. Paul to Corinth. Fifteen hundred miles was our goal, and we greatly exceeded it at 2,800 miles total!”

In the following years, Region 7 parishioners “traveled” across the world including with Saints Peter and Paul to Rome, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo during his missionary years throughout Italy following the French Revolution, with missions of the Precious Blood Congregation in India and Africa, and toured through various countries in Asia with stops at areas of Catholic services and mission work.

For the 2021 Lenten season, organizers wanted to focus on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s 200 years of Catholic history.

“I believe the concept came from our pastor, Father Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S., as he had received a copy of Archbishop Schnurr’s Pastoral Letter for the bicentennial, Radiate Christ, and information on the two hundredth anniversary of the archdiocese,” said Becker. “It really clicked with everyone, perhaps because it’s a time when we are all staying close to home.”

“As we started researching each of the first parishes in the counties [of our archdiocese], we became excited about the information we uncovered: the rich heritage, culture and the connection of the founding of Ohio through the Church,” Becker shared.

“The opportunity to showcase the first parishes [established in the archdiocese] we hope will be of interest to people,” said Beth Anderson, Event Coordinator of the 2021 Lenten pilgrimage. “In these days of cabin fever, a drive to one of the first parishes may be a great way to spend an afternoon. The addresses of each parish will be included in the bulletin writeups.”

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