Sunday, August 20, 2006

2nd Annual Flatrock Penitential Pilgrimage

On Saturday September 9, 2006, the second historic penitential pilgrimage to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Flatrock, Newfoundland, will take place. This holy site was personally visited and blessed by Pope John Paul II during his 1984 visit to Canada.

Last September, the first such pilgrimage was a bold, visionary event, and served as a lighting rod to animate further acts of penance in order “to beseech the divine assistance in season of deep affliction” by invoking God’s promise: “then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

The following is a report I wrote last year regarding the first pilgrimage:

About 40 or more contrite souls showed up just before noon hour on Saturday for the four kilometer procession to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The procession got off to a start shortly after noon and included three stages and stops, each of which was characterized by song and prayer. The last kilometer of the procession was completed in silence. The weather was cool, overcast and breezy, but pilgrims were nonetheless thankful.

After arriving at the Church and Grotto, pilgrims enjoyed a half hour or so of refreshments and fellowship at the parish hall, after which time each pilgrim moved to the Church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and/or Grotto for Stations of the Cross. This was followed by Mass and Benediction officiated by His Excellency Archbishop William Aquin Carew, who graciously agreed to be the chaplain for the pilgrimage. At about 5:15 pm each pilgrim headed home.

Enthusiasm and gratitude ran high from everyone who attended the event and many expressed the hope that such pilgrimages could be an annual or even semi-annual event.

A photo gallery of last year’s event can be viewed here.

(A local Newfoundlander, Vicki TH, has a very nice photoset and slideshow of Flatrock and the grotto.)

An Historic Statement of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You; I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who is all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

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