This year our annual Lenten Pilgrimage ushered in the holy season of Lent, happening on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday.
Our Lord and Lady provided, as they always do, by giving us the grace of fair weather. Several days leading up to it there were forecasts showing thunderstorms, and it threatened the walk itself.
Availing ourselves to prayer and hope, we put it all in God's hands and the result was amazing as the pictures below show. Thank you to all who organized and participated in the pilgrimage. We are already excited for next year!
By Joseph Tolin:
It was a beautiful day for our annual May Crowning.
This year, the May Crowning was held on the Sunday After the Ascension. One particularly significant thing that stood out to me are the words that Our Lord speaks to us in the second Alleluia:
"Alleluia. Non vos relinquam orphanos: vado, et venio ad vos, et gaudebit cor vestrum. Alleluia"
"Alleluia. I will not leave you orphans. I go away and come to you, and your heart will rejoice. Alleluia."
I will not leave you orphans. Those particular words struck home in my heart, especially in the way they are chanted. Our Lord promises that amidst all the trials of this life, we are not alone. He has ascended with jubilation into Heaven, but He always remains with us. He has sent the Holy Ghost, and He gives Himself continually in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. How comforting that is, and how well the chant communicates His message.
But that is not all. He also gives us His Mother as Our Mother. The Church dedicates the entire Month of May to Mary, Our Queen Whom has been crowned. May we take the time to reflect more deeply on Her role in our life, and may our hearts rejoice. Ave Maria!
Lenten Pilgrimage 2018: Bringing Our Lady’s Blessings to the Streets
By Ben Broussard
Bagpipes echoed through the stopped traffic. Priest and servers led the way. Eight men carried a float with the Blessed Mother aloft. A long train of the faithful raised their rosaries in the air.
The 7th Annual Lenten Pilgrimage made its way through Port Arthur TX on Saturday March 3, 2018. Sung Holy Mass commenced the morning followed by prayers at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Dedicated in 2001, the massive outdoor shrine features large rocks from Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City. The towering statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego look down upon the faithful. A solemn blessing of pilgrims followed by prayers for particular intentions preceded the day’s trek.
The bright red standard of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) was soon raised and carried through the streets. As the long procession winded from a major street into a neighborhood, so many stopped and watched, in awe at the sight. Locals and those passing through took photos and stood in awe of this public honoring of the Mother of God. Remembering all the Catholics in Islamic countries and Communist China currently suffering persecution, the day’s public prayers and solemn ceremonies underscored the need to pray and offer sacrifices for their perseverance.
More than a hundred participants prayed, sang and walked under sunny skies. The first stop was St. Catherine of Sienna Church for a spiritual talk by Fr. Joshua Houck, FSSP. Knights of Columbus graciously provided fried fish for the hungry pilgrims. More walking and praying soon led to the next stop at Calvary Catholic Cemetery. A blessing of the tombs accompanied by Gregorian chant and prayers for the holy souls soon followed. The historic Church of St. James the Greater, a unique octagonal building in the classical style, served as the setting for the afternoon Way of the Cross.
The last stretch led down busy Gulfway Drive amid stopped drivers and pedestrians looking on with admiration. As the joyous faithful sang the Salve Regina, the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace soon came into view. Built by Vietnamese Catholics who settled in Texas after the Fall of Saigon, the impressive statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary three times life size dominates the surrounding area.
The Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and final blessing concluded the day’s events. As Catholic practice is more and more being banished from the public square in our days, an event like the Lenten Pilgrimage becomes more important to manifest the public honoring of God and the Blessed Mother in society. May Our Lady take the prayers and sacrifices of the pilgrims and present them to her Son to hasten the triumph of her Wise and Immaculate Heart.