Bishop Burbidge leads pilgrimage to the shrine

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Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge led the diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Oct. 14.

“How blessed are we to be in this glorious Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of our nation. Providentially, our pilgrimage occurs during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima when Our Lady called all people to prayer, penance and conversion of heart,” said Bishop Burbidge in his homily. “Today, dependent upon God’s grace, we renew our commitment to embrace and to live her message.”

 

Bishop Burbidge led the rosary in the beginning. The Joyful Mysteries were recited in English, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Spanish and Korean. Following the rosary was an opportunity for confession.

Families participated in Seek and Find, learning about different chapels within the basilica. They were invited to do a “lectio” of the chapels, praying with the art and letting the experience become part of their lives and conversations.

Patrick and Rebecca Rooney, parishioners of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale, brought their three children to participate in the pilgrimage.  

“Doing this all together as a diocese is a good example for the kids. There are other families in the diocese,” said Patrick. “There are others who care about their faith. So much of the basilica is visually engaging and it is a reminder for kids and adults that there are real historical people and events behind the pictures.”

Dominican Father Joseph Thomas White spoke on three themes from Fatima, including a deeper mystery of God’s encompassing providence in the darkness, and responsibility to live an evangelical life of self-offering made of love for God. He said the third theme is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“In a sense, the whole message of Fatima is summed up here — seek to live your life in spiritual proximity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” he said. “This is the great message of John Paul II’s life, as exemplified by his filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Totus Tuus, his papal motto: all is yours.” 

Bishop Burbidge was the celebrant and homilist at the Mass and it was concelebrated by priests of the Diocese of Arlington.

 

“It is my hope and prayer that this pilgrimage is a source of abundant grace and blessings for all of you so that we can return to our homes, our parishes and communities heeding Mary’s call to prayer and penance and conversion of heart to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received,” Bishop Burbidge said in his homily.

After Mass, Bishop Burbidge blessed religious articles and reconsecrated the diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He then led a Eucharistic procession from the Basilica to the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II, where pilgrims recited the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. 

Martha Prokop, religious education director at St. Katherine Drexel Mission in Haymarket and St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg, brought 40 confirmation students from her parishes. Prokop said they make a pilgrimage each year.  “They are getting everything here, including (Bishop Burbidge),” she said. “They look at this (place) and they are in awe. It brings out their very best. They go to confession, come back and say their penance and then we can go and talk about what just happened.”

Alejandro Gomez, visiting from Atlanta, said the day’s events brought the whole community together. “A pilgrimage puts you spiritually on another perspective, to start thinking deeper about your faith, to think about your relationship with God and how you can further develop it,” he said. “Being in this place helps me to become closer to God and think about these things.”

Father James R. Searby, chaplain at George Mason University Catholic Campus Ministry in Fairfax, and Corinne Monogue, director of the diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministries, were co-chairs of the pilgrimage. Music for the pilgrimage was provided by the Diocesan Festival Choir, under the direction of Dr. Richard P. Gibala. 

“It was an amazing and prayerful experience for all that attended,” said Monogue. “It didn't matter if you attended by yourself, with friends, with fellow parishioners or with family, each comment I have received has indicated that it was a tremendous prayerful experience, richly rewarding in many ways.”

Buy photos from the pilgrimage here.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

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