The following personal account of Pilgrimage 2010 is especially noteworthy coming from returning veteran pilgrim Ted Amberg of Michigan. He and wife Audrey are also distinguished co-builders of the pilgrimage organization in its early years.
[Ted’s account appears here edited, since he had not written it with publication in mind. Supposing, according to the adage, that “it is easier to obtain forgiveness than pardon”, the editor hereby begs the author’s pardon in anticipation of the need!]
Greetings, Pilgrimage Director!
I almost feel remiss in not writing sooner after the pilgrimage. Things have returned to their usual hectic around here. But let me try to describe my experiences during this, the 15th annual Pilgrimage for Restoration.
As I had written to you in the summer, we would try to make it – well, thanks be to God, we did, after about a 2000 mile car trip east, south and then north to the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament [Lake George, NY].
Audrey and I are very glad we did.
Although you were not able to be there, the organization and pilgrimage itself was next to perfect. This is a true sign of a well-run event and organization — how well it goes with a key person absent. [Greg Lloyd is founder & director of the pilgrimage. editor]
The whole conduct, on the spiritual as well as the physical level, showed an extraordinary amount of devoted professionalism. You can thank God Almighty for 15 years of experience and the outstanding work of Michael Meier and Michael Six, and be proud of the results.
Also of honorable mention:
Check-in (by Mary Grace and assistants) on Tuesday evening was a great improvement. Much more relaxed and efficient.
Solemn High Mass, celebrated by Canon Hellman, on Wednesday morning was very a spiritual and uplifting experience. (Never mind the somewhat delayed departure.)
Routing, especially on days one and two, was vastly improved, thanks be to God. [The column now walks around the mountain ridge, unlike the early days when Ted and the rest had to climb it … twice! – editor]
By the way, the new route on Saturday was a very happy surprise, much easier and more suitable to reflection and prayer.
More frequent watering and port-a-pot stations were a very welcome improvement. And those “Water-Lilies” – what a joyful, musical group of cheery volunteers!
Also, special thanks are due again to the providers of the great port-a-pot rig [The Burriellos and The Cooks – editor]. And, equally so, to the tireless and hardworking driver/attendant, Tom Roehrig.
Another outstanding performance throughout was given by the safety detail – Patrick Elms and his Team. They were ‘everywhere’ in a most timely and certain manner.
Effective and welcome assistance was also provided while crossing the busy State routes by the various Sheriffs’ departments along the way.
Ever-effective Bob Whealan, with the able assistance of Mike Emig & crew (and the added help of the Virginian-delegation’s van), as well as a number of nurses’ vehicles, did a marvelous job once again of keeping the “walking wounded” up with the column, or bringing them to camp.
Communications functioned very well, thanks also to the very conscientious job Michael Six the Younger did, including keeping all of those batteries charged.
Set-up and take-down of the camps and Mass sites went off without a hitch, far as I could see. Unfortunately, I was not close enough to cite the hardworking and caring individuals involved. [Thanks to generous 15-year veterans Kirk & Bonni Kanzenbach and Family. – editor]
And that most delicious HOT soup, waiting at our arrival – chili (!) on Wednesday and clam chowder on Friday (sorry, I missed Thursday’s menu). My compliments to chief chef. [Rebecca Kanzenbach – editor] Also, breakfasts functioned very smoothly and efficiently.
Not ever to forget the nurses – Clare Bracken, my Audrey, and Marie Moulton – as well as Christine Oaks (on Saturday), who cared for the wounded and limping. [And applied healthy doses of laughter, the best medicine, to boot … with puns intended, then & now! – editor]
“Pathfinder” Michael Ehinger kept everyone going in the right direction, didn’t get lost once, and lived to tell about it! [Michael’s steady leadership all year round was, for the fourth year running, the leaven in the Company of St. Rene Goupil apostolate. editor]
As always there were, no doubt, many devoted and selfless helpers hard at work to make everything function so smoothly. To all of them I extend a cordial thank you!
All in all it was a highly commendable effort: except for scale, every bit as good as the Chartres event [in France]. And in some details, such as provision of water or gatorade (more frequent and in 1/2 liter size), garbage pick up, breakfast and supper provisions, even better than our French model.
Of course, there can be no question that, not least in the two Michaels – The Messrs. Meier & Six – you have exceptional, experienced, devoted and sure-footed leadership, thanks be to God.
And what to say of the ever-ready Priests and our cheerful chaplain – reliable Canon Hellmann – except that God knows their many sacrifices and zeal for our salvation, and (let’s earnestly pray) shall reward them abundantly.
The final Mass was glorious, as always. But what a shock, when at the end they started a Recessional Hymn: Holy God we praise Thy Name: well, I was so overcome with emotion that I could not sing!
That is my report.
I hope and pray that God gives all of us the grace and opportunity to go on another wonderful and blessed pilgrimage, just like the one in 2010.
Now, are there already plans for 2011?
Mark your calendar for Pilgrimage 2011!
NEW dates & days for the 16th annual Pilgrimage for Restoration have been set, with plans already underway Join fellow pilgrims, according to custom, during the days leading to the feast of the Jesuit & American Indian Martyrs (September 26).
Come to restore. The rest will come.