5000 pilgrims walk from Chicago to Marian shrine in Indiana

Pilgrimages are little lives.  We encounter people, who have their own issues and goals.  We find out things about ourselves.  We have our faces set towards the goal.  There are hardships.

I saw this at nwi.com:

Polish Catholic pilgrims march across Northwest Indiana

HAMMOND | A river of mostly Polish Catholic pilgrims, including priests in ankle-length cassocks and baseball caps, flowed down Hohman Avenue Saturday afternoon.

Pictures of Pope John Paul II bobbed above the surging, singing crowd. Whistles buzzed and pilgrims prayed as they walked en masse down the middle of the street.

They walked in sandals and sneakers and high-end hiking boots, with floppy hats to shield them from the sun. They wore yellow scarves and religious pins. They hoisted banners, Polish flags and pictures of St. Mary, an important figure in the Catholic faith. They sang along with hymns that blared from the speakers of support vans.


An estimated 5,000 pilgrims — many immigrants who speak Polish as a first language or first-generation Polish-Americans — made their annual 33-mile journey on foot between a South Side Catholic Church and the Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine in Merrillville. They embarked on the two-day walk from St. Michael Catholic Church, passing through Hammond and Munster on Saturday while on their way to an icon of the Black Madonna, a longtime symbol of Poland that’s believed to have healing powers.


Patrick Grabowski has been marching in the 27-year-old procession — a major event for the Chicago area’s Polish community — for four years. He says his legs get really sore but he’s learned to bring enough supplies, such as extra socks to change into during breaks. He said the long, tiring walk helps him feel closer to God.

“You feel good about yourself, that you completed the whole journey,” Grabowski said.

Robert Sokolowski drove an hour down from the north Chicago suburbs after first hearing of the pilgrimage a few days ago because he wanted his young son Ben to have a spiritual experience. Many of the marchers bought their children, often younger kids in strollers.


Marching for such a long distance forces pilgrims to be contemplative, Sokolowski said.

“You reflect on life, what’s important,” he said. “You have to give something to get something back.”

Read the whole thing there.

Perhaps some of you have made walking pilgrimages.  I have thought about the Camino.  But whether your pilgrimages have been walking or motorized, they are, when undertaken for spiritual reasons, a microcosm of life.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jfk03 says:

    The ikon of the Virgin of Czestochowa came to our Eastern Catholic parish in Northern California a couple of weeks ago. We had a good turnout for a small town. We sung vespers and the akathist hymn.

    The Polish community of Chicago deserves praise for giving this pilgrimage the attention it deserves. May the Mother of God bring a speedy end to abortion.

  2. Mike says:

    My two sons did the Camino–not all of it, but about 90 miles in five days. They said it was a powerful experience!

  3. Hello Fr. Z.

    Here in Canada, for about a decade + this year, a great Traditional Latin Mass pilgrimage, in conjunction with the FSSP in Ottawa, occurs every year on Labour day weekend called Marie Reine du Canada. It’s a 3.5 day pilgrimage that ends at Cap-de-La-Madeleine where the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Cape is, culminating in a Solemn Latin Mass at the “Old” cathedral (on the site with the “new one”). I went on this last summer and had a doozy of an injury behind my knee on one leg, yet was able to do enough (with one portion of each day for rest and healing) to go through with it, rain or shine! It’s great to be with fellow Traditionalists without fear of shame, and the priest that goes with you will administer confession even during the walking parts when he’s not teaching (much further back from the main parties, or between the French and English chapters, and in more sotto voce tone, obviously, ). I also had the pleasure, after asking, to serve for the Saturday Low Mass alongside the FSSP servers. Did I forget to mention each morning, the Saturday and Sunday begins with early Mass, and each day ends with sung vespers? I mean, I could tell you more here in this combox, but I’d be talking a mile.

    For more information, please see the website here: http://www.marie-reine.ca/. The 2014 application form is online for printout and and payment.

  4. Catholic Hokie says:

    I’ve had the privilege of going on a pilgrimage in honor of Fr. Emil Kapaun in the Wichita Diocese . It’s a 60-mile, 3-day walk from a church in Wichita to Kapaun’s home parish in Pilsen, KS. I’ve gone twice and it’s been an incredible experience. It’s great to hear about other pilgrimages going on in the US!

  5. ReginaMarie says:

    Catholic Hokie,
    Here are 2 annual Pilgrimages that our family will be taking part in…

    Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma Annual Pilgrimage at the Shrine of Mariapoch
    Pilgrimage theme: “Rejoice O You Who Have Borne the Guide of the Lost”
    (Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary)
    Thursday, August 14th – Friday, August 15th: Vigil & Procession for the Feast of the Dormition & Pre-Pilgrimage Activities
    Saturday, August 16th – Sunday, August 17th: Pilgrimage & Hierarchical Divine Liturgy

    The annual Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a special ministry of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great & has been held every Labor Day weekend since 1934. It was that year that the Sisters & pilgrims celebrated the blessing of the then newly acquired Monastery for the Sisters.

    In 1935, Pope Pius XI gifted the Sisters with a beautiful icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help requesting that they spread devotion to the Theotokos under that title. The Pilgrimage is the oldest & largest Byzantine Catholic Pilgrimage in the United States.

    The 80th Annual Pilgrimage in Honor of Our Lady pf Perpetual Help at Mount St. Macrina Monastery in Uniontown, PA will be on August 30th through September 1st.

    The theme for this year’s Pilgrimage is “Theotokos: Fountain of Mercy”, as the Sisters follow the direction of Pope Francis’ message of mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013: “Together let us pray to the Virgin Mary that she help us…to walk in faith & charity, ever trusting the Lord’s mercy; He always awaits us, loves us, has pardoned us with His Blood & pardons us every time we go to Him to ask His forgiveness. Let us trust His mercy!”

    The Pilgrimage will offer the Divine Liturgy, Matins, Vespers, the sacrament of Reconciliation, healing & anointing services, & other services in honor of the Mother of God. In addition, there will be many beautiful processions, activities for children & teens, & pastoral counseling. Between scheduled events, pilgrims find solace in walking the beautiful grounds of Mount St. Macrina visiting the may shrines.

  6. Sonshine135 says:

    Father Z.,
    This is one of the reasons I took up hiking. It forces a person to be contemplative, and allows a person to decompress. I hike some very unpopulated trails from time to time just to be one with the Lord. I have never regretted doing this.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Z, a good priest I know, Fr. Dominic in Surrey, did the Camino in celebration of his fifty birthday and twenty years a priest. He worked on the hiking for months before-hand and afterwards said is was “rough”. If one does the whole thing, it is rough. However, if one is in good shape to begin with, or gets one’s self into shape, good. At my age, I would have to cheat and do the short version.

    I did a few small pilgrimage walks in Walsingham over the years. I have not done the long one. Pilgrimages in some places have been treated as “walking holidays” which pilgrimages are absolutely not. Pain to a certain degree and suffering form part of a real pilgrimage, like getting rained on in Walsingham for days.

    One of my friends was converted on the Camino. She is a wonderful Catholic woman and had a powerful experience of God the Father, coming out of a secular lifestyle and now working for the Church. Things happen on pilgrimages.

    Go for the Camino, Father. You experiences would make a great series of articles on your blog!

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