Pilgrimages have been made from earliest times to venerated places. Christians would walk to a sacred place in order to do penance for their sins and to ask special graces for themselves or loved ones.
Life can be thought of as a pilgrimage; we walk joyfully in God`s grace in this life with the Cross on our shoulders awaiting that glorious day when we will see God face to face in Heaven. This is the spirit of a pilgrimage; to do penance for the glory of God; to save our souls and the souls of others.
A pilgrimage to the Canadian Martyr’s Shrine
The Canadian Martyrs made incredible sacrifices to spread the Catholic Faith in Canada. The pilgrimage was made to this shrine to acquire this spirit of sacrifice.
Details of this year’s pilgrimage
This year the pilgrims walked 13 kilometers to the Canadian Martyr’s Shrine on Saturday, September 22, 2012. There were approximately 150 persons walking on the pilgrimage and around 250 were present for the Mass at the shrine. Fr. Scott and Fr. May along with the students from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy joined Fr. Wegner and Rev. Mr. Prescott and the rest of the pilgrims from the various chapels for the trek.
The weather for the first half of the pilgrimage was good but in the second half it rained. When the pilgrims arrived at the shrine it was raining cats and dogs. A Solemn High Mass was celebrated on a covered altar outside; the Mass was sung well by a group of young men. The faithful however had to assist at Mass in an uncovered area while the rain fell upon them mercilessly. They came up to the communion rail with teeth clattering and bodies trembling from the cold. Nevertheless, they offered these sacrifices up to God in a spirit of faith which edified everyone. After Mass was completed, everyone went to the Shrine Church to venerate the relics of the Martyrs. Afterwards, the pilgrims went to a local hall for the banquet.
The courageous six
However, there was a group of four courageous men who made a longer pilgrimage. After assisting at Mass in Orillia on Friday, September 21, 2012, these four set out on a 33 kilometer trek with Fr. Wegner and Rev. Mr. Prescott. They walked all day and camped out at night. In the morning, they walked another 7 kilometers to the starting point of the pilgrimage before walking the remaining 13 kilometers. It is hoped that next year many more people and especially the youth will profit from this longer pilgrimage.
What a success!
Indeed at any pilgrimage there are those who walk and those who are behind the scenes making the pilgrimage happen. We thank everyone who contributed to making the pilgrimage a success.
We hope that next year’s pilgrimage will be an even greater success and we thank God for all the graces we have received.