“United in Christ/Unidos en Cristo” will serve as the theme for the Diocese of Trenton’s biannual Marian Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, scheduled for Nov. 4.
All parishes in the Trenton Diocese have been invited to travel to the nation’s capital, where they will join their brothers and sisters in faith for a day of prayer and praise led by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. The 2017 pilgrimage will mark the fourth pilgrimage Bishop O’Connell has led since he was named Bishop of Trenton in 2010.
Prayer and fellowship begins on the bus ride to Washington as pilgrims will be encouraged to pray Morning Prayer and recite decades of the Rosary. Buses are departing from sites across the Diocese; interested pilgrims should contact their local parish for more information. The buses, are being sponsored by parishes or Cohorts will leave early in order to arrive at the basilica by 11:30 a.m.
Upon reaching Washington, pilgrims will gather in the Great Upper Church at noon for the recitation of the Angelus, followed by a welcome by the shrine’s rector, Msgr. Walter Rossi, and recitation of the Rosary. Pilgrims will then be free to tour the Byzantine-Romanesque basilica, the largest Roman Catholic Church in the United States and North America and regarded as one of the 10 largest churches in the world. There will be time for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an opportunity to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and lunch. The high point of the day will be the celebration of Mass in the Great Upper Church at 3 p.m. with Bishop O’Connell as principal celebrant and homilist.
A special agenda has been planned for children who attend the pilgrimage. Bishop O’Connell has once again extended a special invitation to families who have presented a child for their First Holy Communion in 2016 or 2017. The Bishop will also gather with all children in Memorial Hall where he will lead catechetical talks on topics of faith. Also, children will be invited to participate in an exercise designed to teach them about the various shrine chapels. Upon their arrival to the shrine, the children will each receive a “Pilgrim Passport” that has a number of designated chapels listed for the children to visit. After each chapel visit, the children’s passport will be stamped.
Designated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a National Sanctuary of Prayer and Pilgrimage, the basilica is the nation’s preeminent Marian shrine, dedicated to the patroness of the United States – the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.
For pilgrimage updates, visit http://www.dioceseoftrenton.org/events/diocesan-pilgrimage-to-washington-dc.