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Diocese of Arlington to host pilgrimage in October

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Since his installation in December 2016, Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has officiated at dedications, confirmations, ordinations and any number of events. But more of the nearly 465,000 registered Catholics of the Diocese of Arlington can join the Bishop in prayer for the first time during the biennial diocesan pilgrimage at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Oct. 14.

This year’s theme is “Totus Tuus, we are totally yours, Mary.” Totus Tuus was Pope John Paul II’s motto.

“What better way to rally the family and get the family together than doing it with our mom,” said Father James R. Searby, chaplain at George Mason University in Fairfax. “Our Blessed Mother is going to be our rallying point.”

The pilgrimage will include music, recitation of the rosary, confession, adoration, Holy Hour and Mass. After Mass, Bishop Burbidge will bless religious articles.

The pilgrimage will include an event called “Seek and Find,” where families will be able to walk through 10 locations in the basilica where seminarians will be stationed. The pilgrims will be able to go to those stations, have an experience, be educated and it will help people connect to their own personal faith journey, said Father Searby.

This year, after Mass, pilgrims will participate in a Eucharistic procession led by the Bishop from the basilica to the nearby Saint John Paul II National Shrine. The Sisters of Our Lady of Divine Mercy will lead the pilgrims in praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

“As we give ourselves to Mary, we are then going to the shrine and asking St. John Paul II to intercede for us that we will be able to live what we just did (at the pilgrimage),” said Father Searby. “Very few people teach us better to love Mary than St. John Paul II who had such a devotion to her.”

Bishop Burbidge was ordained a bishop in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. “So, we go back to the beginning with our shepherd,” said Father Searby.

People can prepare for the pilgrimage ahead of time by deeply entering the readings of every Sunday and praying a decade of the rosary each day.

“We say in Mass, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed,’” said Father Searby. “Mary prepares the house of our hearts. The pilgrimage is a brilliant opportunity for people to consecrate themselves to Mary.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017