300 Miles with Mary: Archdiocese prepares for 33 Day Marian Pilgrimage in honor of Bicentennial
WHAT DEFINES A PILGRIMAGE?
A pilgrimage is a journey to locations of religious importance. The external journey is meant to ignite an internal spiritual journey of conversion. Pilgrimages can be life-changing. It is a deep act of prayer in which individuals bring special intentions, hopes for the future and hearts ready to be transformed to more fully radiate Christ to the world.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR A 33-DAY MARIAN PILGRIMAGE COME FROM?
Archbishop Schnurr asked every institution in the archdiocese to consider how to celebrate the upcoming bicentennial on June 19. In response, the Center for the New Evangelization prayerfully discerned the idea of organizing a 33-day Marian Pilgrimage to prepare for the archdiocese’s re-consecration to Jesus through Mary. Traditionally, the preparation for a consecration to Jesus through Mary takes 33 days.
WHAT MAKES THIS PILGRIMAGE SPECIAL?
This is the longest Marian Pilgrimage in the U.S.: 33 days long, spanning more than 300 miles with stops at 33 parishes in every deanery of the archdiocese. We will travel with a special statue of Our Lady of Fatima, blessed by Archbishop Schnurr. The final day of the pilgrimage is on the anniversary of the bicentennial. On that day, the statue will visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, and Archbishop Schnurr will lead a re-consecration of the archdiocese to Jesus through Mary.
WHO WILL COMPLETE THE PILGRIMAGE?
We are recruiting individuals who will commit to portions of the pilgrimage. Each portion will cover three to four days of the route. Our goal is to have at least eight pilgrims processing with the statue every day.
WHY WAS OUR LADY OF FATIMA CHOSEN?
The apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima have always been closely connected to making a consecration to Jesus through Mary and to pilgrimage. In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in response to Our Lady of Fatima’s request. The location of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima is a popular pilgrimage destination. At the same time, pilgrim statues of Mary have been deployed across the world to bring the message of Fatima and to inspire prayer.
WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE?
The day will begin with pilgrims celebrating Mass at the host parish at which they arrived at the previous evening. After Mass, pilgrims will begin their journey to the next host parish, processing with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The average route will be about 10 miles. Pilgrims will have a prayer routine throughout the day that will include praying for intentions people can submit on our website. Individuals, groups or families who would like to walk a portion of the pilgrimage may join pilgrims along the route. The itinerary on some days will include stops in between the host parishes. These stops include local homeless shelters, pregnancy centers and correctional institutions. The day will end with a Marian celebration at the next host parish.
CAN WE PARTICIPATE VIRTUALLY?
Check out our daily prayers and resources on our website in order to “walk” the same prayer journey as the pilgrims. Request a free copy of the Marian consecration booklet 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Michael Gaitley, MIC, which will be available at every parish in the archdiocese.
CAN WE PARTICIPATE IN PILGRIMAGE EVENTS IF WE CAN’T DO THE PILGRIMAGE?
We have four “cornerstone” events that will be fun, prayerful and family-friendly.
• May 16: Opening Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Russells Point
• May 21: Evening Procession, Holy Hour and Movie Night at the Maria Stein Shrine
• May 29: Family Concert at Chaminade Julienne High School Stadium
• June 19: Family Concert at Fountain Square in Downtown Cincinnati with Marian Consecration
WHERE CAN I GET THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON THE MARIAN PILGRIMAGE?
Go to www.mary2021.org. The website will be updated continually, so check it often!
This article appeared in the March 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.