Parish Pilgrimages (Fr. Andrew)
I have thought of a destination pilgrimage to any site of great admiration and ecstasy for a long time - the Holy Land, Italy (The Vatican), Fatima in Portugal, Lourdes in France and the like. But I am not fully organized for the one Fr. Dwayne is planning to Assisi and Rome this November; and that is why the moment the interest in holding a local pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lacrosse was expressed, I knew that was for me.
October seems the right time for such pilgrimage. The early morning drive along Wisconsin roads that treated us to a display of moderate-size mountains covered with trees that have started to change colors was a bonus scenery to what awaited us at the Shrine.
The Shrine, located on top of an imposing mountain covered with a canopy of trees, invokes a deep sense of being right in the place where the Earth meets Heaven.
Mary's spirit is genuinely present so much that if one can't afford a trip to Mexico City, one could just count on a pleasant encounter with Mary at Lacrosse.
Pilgrimage sites are famous for miracles, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe has witnessed many such miracles and answered prayers. The many devotional areas, the first-class relics of some favorite saints, statues, the Rosary walk, the Via Dolorosa, and the colossal "Tilma" at the back of the altar are all sources of miracles.
Pilgrimage to holy shrines and sites is an essential Catholic practice. It can offer us an excellent opportunity to deepen our faith life and grow closer to Christ.
We should take advantage of the ones around if we cannot travel far to some well-known shrines and sites in other parts of the world.
And by the way, if you missed this Pilgrimage, you still have the chance to join Fr. Dwayne to Italy. But, if you can’t make that too, then plan to participate in next year’s pilgrimage to the Holy Hills in Milwaukee which Jeff Jochum and Deacon John have begun to organize for the parish. And hopefully, parish pilgrimage will become an annual trip that we all look forward to.