2,000 of Diocese's pilgrims descend on nation's capital for community, prayer in Basilica

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
2,000 of Diocese's pilgrims descend on nation's capital for community, prayer in Basilica
2,000 of Diocese's pilgrims descend on nation's capital for community, prayer in Basilica


By Jennifer Mauro | Managing Editor

They came from the four corners of the Diocese, many of them up before the sun to board nearly four dozen buses with one destination: the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Some snuggled into jackets and toted stuffed-animal carrying children and lunch bags, while others shared smiles with family, friends, fellow parishioners, deacons and priests as they set off for the nearly four-hour drive to “Mary’s House” for the biennial diocesan pilgrimage Nov. 4.

Photo Gallery: Full coverage of the diocesan pilgrimage

Photo Gallery: Diocesan pilgrimage highlights

Along the way, pilgrims on each bus prepared for the day of faith that lay ahead, whether through collective prayer and recitation of the Rosary, or quiet time to reflect, thanks in part to Rosary finger rings and prayer cards donated by the Knights of Columbus. 

A video highlighting the Byzantine-Romanesque Marian shrine – which features more than 80 chapels and oratories dedicated to Catholic cultures and saints from around the world – prepared the pilgrims as the Basilica’s blue and gold crown peeked out from above the trees upon arrival. The Diocese’s faithful would be among the first to see the newly renovated Trinity Dome without scaffolding once they stepped inside “America’s Catholic Church.” The Diocese of Trenton contributed $100,000 to the mosaic work, and the dome will be officially dedicated Dec. 8.

More than 2,000 pilgrims of all ages and ethnicities, a large number representing the diverse Hispanic Catholic communities of the Diocese of Trenton, descended on the Basilica on the breezy autumn day, the brilliance of yellow-leaved trees standing in the shadow of the tallest inhabitable building in Washington and one of the 10 largest churches in the world.

There, they were personally greeted with a smile, handshake and even hugs by their shepherd, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as they filed one by one off their buses.

“Nothing makes me happier than greeting the faithful of our Diocese whenever and wherever I can,” Bishop O’Connell said. “Together, as Vatican II reminded us, we are ‘the pilgrim people of God.’”

As the musical group Pascua Juvenil of St. Rose of Lima, Freehold, played mariachi music on the basilica’s steps, pilgrims took photos and video, greeted friends and talked with clergy. Some donned ponchos the color of Mexico’s flag and adorned with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe while others wore T-shirts proudly proclaiming their parishes. Some carried banners with the “Virgen de Guadalupe” on one side, and their parish community on the other.

Over the next several hours, these families, friends and men and women religious from Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties prayed the Angelus (held at noon), listened to presentations given in various shrine chapels by a dozen Chancery staff and 10 deacons, gathered with the Bishop for an informational conversation and participated in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Children also received a “Pilgrim Passport,” where after certain chapel visits, they earned a passport stamp.

Helping to make the day a success were another dozen volunteers consisting of young adult and adult parishioners, who helped distribute worship aids and translation devices for the bilingual Mass, as well as parish leaders who helped organize the Diocese’s traveling torches dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The day of faith culminated with Mass in the Great Upper Church with about 30 priests, 13 deacons – four of whom are expected to be ordained priests next year – five seminarians and 10 altar servers. They processed to the altar as the heavenly voices of the Diocesan Festival Choir, under the direction of Shawn Mack, led the congregation in song. The Readings were proclaimed and songs were sung both in English and Spanish.

The Bishop in his homily preached on the lives of saints, service to others and “the universal call to holiness.” 

“The call to holiness is given to us all and leads us, on pilgrimage, to humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus,” he said.

Before the end of Mass the Bishop lit the seven “Antorchas Guadalupanas,” which will now tour the Diocese in honor of the Blessed Mother until early December. As the Bishop followed the torches during the recessional out of the Basilica, mariachi music from Pascua Juvenil followed close behind.

[[In-content Ad]]

Related Stories

By Jennifer Mauro | Managing Editor

They came from the four corners of the Diocese, many of them up before the sun to board nearly four dozen buses with one destination: the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Some snuggled into jackets and toted stuffed-animal carrying children and lunch bags, while others shared smiles with family, friends, fellow parishioners, deacons and priests as they set off for the nearly four-hour drive to “Mary’s House” for the biennial diocesan pilgrimage Nov. 4.

Photo Gallery: Full coverage of the diocesan pilgrimage

Photo Gallery: Diocesan pilgrimage highlights

Along the way, pilgrims on each bus prepared for the day of faith that lay ahead, whether through collective prayer and recitation of the Rosary, or quiet time to reflect, thanks in part to Rosary finger rings and prayer cards donated by the Knights of Columbus. 

A video highlighting the Byzantine-Romanesque Marian shrine – which features more than 80 chapels and oratories dedicated to Catholic cultures and saints from around the world – prepared the pilgrims as the Basilica’s blue and gold crown peeked out from above the trees upon arrival. The Diocese’s faithful would be among the first to see the newly renovated Trinity Dome without scaffolding once they stepped inside “America’s Catholic Church.” The Diocese of Trenton contributed $100,000 to the mosaic work, and the dome will be officially dedicated Dec. 8.

More than 2,000 pilgrims of all ages and ethnicities, a large number representing the diverse Hispanic Catholic communities of the Diocese of Trenton, descended on the Basilica on the breezy autumn day, the brilliance of yellow-leaved trees standing in the shadow of the tallest inhabitable building in Washington and one of the 10 largest churches in the world.

There, they were personally greeted with a smile, handshake and even hugs by their shepherd, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as they filed one by one off their buses.

“Nothing makes me happier than greeting the faithful of our Diocese whenever and wherever I can,” Bishop O’Connell said. “Together, as Vatican II reminded us, we are ‘the pilgrim people of God.’”

As the musical group Pascua Juvenil of St. Rose of Lima, Freehold, played mariachi music on the basilica’s steps, pilgrims took photos and video, greeted friends and talked with clergy. Some donned ponchos the color of Mexico’s flag and adorned with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe while others wore T-shirts proudly proclaiming their parishes. Some carried banners with the “Virgen de Guadalupe” on one side, and their parish community on the other.

Over the next several hours, these families, friends and men and women religious from Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties prayed the Angelus (held at noon), listened to presentations given in various shrine chapels by a dozen Chancery staff and 10 deacons, gathered with the Bishop for an informational conversation and participated in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Children also received a “Pilgrim Passport,” where after certain chapel visits, they earned a passport stamp.

Helping to make the day a success were another dozen volunteers consisting of young adult and adult parishioners, who helped distribute worship aids and translation devices for the bilingual Mass, as well as parish leaders who helped organize the Diocese’s traveling torches dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The day of faith culminated with Mass in the Great Upper Church with about 30 priests, 13 deacons – four of whom are expected to be ordained priests next year – five seminarians and 10 altar servers. They processed to the altar as the heavenly voices of the Diocesan Festival Choir, under the direction of Shawn Mack, led the congregation in song. The Readings were proclaimed and songs were sung both in English and Spanish.

The Bishop in his homily preached on the lives of saints, service to others and “the universal call to holiness.” 

“The call to holiness is given to us all and leads us, on pilgrimage, to humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus,” he said.

Before the end of Mass the Bishop lit the seven “Antorchas Guadalupanas,” which will now tour the Diocese in honor of the Blessed Mother until early December. As the Bishop followed the torches during the recessional out of the Basilica, mariachi music from Pascua Juvenil followed close behind.

[[In-content Ad]]
Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


UPDATE: Pope has full day of appointments after going to hospital for tests
The day after Pope Francis paid a brief visit to Rome's Gemelli Isola Hospita

El Papa propone un propósito para la Cuaresma: Mantener los ojos en Jesús
Esta Cuaresma, los cristianos deben convertirse en "buscadores de luz"...

ACTUALIZACIÓN: Aún enfermo, el Papa cede la lectura de su catequesis sobre la envidia y la vanagloria
Al llegar en silla de ruedas en lugar de caminar con su bastón

Flavorful Fridays: The beauty of the uncooked meal
As much as I love cooking, there are some days when putting something in the oven...

Pope makes brief trip to hospital for unspecified tests
Pope Francis paid a brief visit to Gemelli Isola Hospital ...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.