Pilgrimage of Mercy

On Sunday, June 12, I took part in a walking pilgrimage organized by the Sister Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (As an aside, this is a very faithful order of sisters with a Franciscan charism,  prayer, reparation, and apostolate.  They are a great order to consider if you are a woman discerning religious life.)

This was the first Sunday I spent in Cresson at my parish assignment for the parishes of Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Aloysius.

Here is the server crew starting out on the walk. “Mother, where exactly are we going? Oh ok…we will follow the fire trucks.”

Many of the pilgrims took turns carrying a simple wooden cross to offer prayers of petition and reparation.  Many people are in need of God’s mercy and this sharing in the cross of Christ is a powerful form of prayer.

Here we are beginning the walk. Sister Scholastica, holding the cross, told me before the 5 mile walk started: “I walked a 50km (31 miles) pilgrimage”.  This 5 mile walk was nothing for her.
We walked over a highway…
Through fields…
Talks with Father…
Walking along…
We were walking along and praying and talking when we noticed our feet were sticking to the melting tar on the road! The good news…Saint Francis University, our goal, is in sight at this point!
We arrived and of course ate some lunch! Thank you to all the generous donors who provided the food!
A Benedictine, and a good friend!
We prayed Stations of the cross…
Mother Jacinta gave a nice talk on Saint Francis of Assisi.
Then we went to the Carmel of St Therese of Lisieux, where Mother John of the Cross gave a great talk on Saint Therese.  Three points: 1. Everything for God. 2. Pray for priests. 3. Abandonment to God’s will.
Then we walked down the road to the “sunken gardens” near the Franciscan Friary.  We prayed the Litany of Loretto here. Then we walked to the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel, and on the way we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
The Most Reverend Mark L. Bartchak, Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown, designated the door of Saint Michael Basilica in Loretto as a Holy Door for pilgrims.  This was the final stop for the pilgrimage. We entered and concluded the day with…
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction by Very Rev. Fr. John Byrnes, Rector of the Basilica.

What a day this was for the diocese, which has been suffering a great deal lately.  I can only pray it was a graced moment for all the participants, young and old, religious, cleric, and lay, as well as for the whole diocese.  What a way to spend the first Sunday on my assignment in Cresson. We prayed together, enjoyed one another’s company, and walked several miles together. The sun was shining but the breeze was blowing, keeping us from becoming too warm. What a gift from God!  Thank you to the Sisters for organizing this event, the priests who availed themselves to absolve us of our sins, and the many pilgrims. We are all united: sinners seeking the mercy of God, revealed to us in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

One Comment on “Pilgrimage of Mercy

  1. That sounds and looks to be like an incredibly powerful pilgrimage and time for prayer and contemplation. I am on my own 1400 mile pilgrimage down the west coast of the USA right now, and as I was scrolling through posts I came to yours and a mosquito bit me before I clicked on it, so I stopped to read of this experience. Haha! I’m glad I did 🙂


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