2011 Brings Surprising Changes
to the 16th annual Pilgrimage for Restoration
contact: Greg Lloyd, Pilgrimage Director
The one-of-a-kind spiritual exercise from the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament (Lake George, NY) to Our Lady’s Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville is scheduled now over a ‘long weekend’, Friday through Sunday, September 23-25, and shaves almost 13 miles from its original course, making it even more accessible to students, homeschoolers, and working families.
The Pilgrimage has had fifteen blessed years mirroring the ancient Paris-to-Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage in France. Here in America, pilgrims follow the footsteps of the French and Indian Martyrs, venerating the blood spilled to bring Christ and His Church to our native lands.
“The – to many surprising – vital element of the Pilgrimage has been its young people,” says Pilgrimage director Gregory Lloyd. “Most people associate ‘tradition’ with ‘old’. But not this pilgrimage. The young pilgrims begged us to change the days [instead of starting on a Wednesday] because they couldn’t miss too many days of class. By starting now on a Friday instead, they don’t have to stop coming when they reach high school or college.”
Lloyd continued. “They tell us it’s exciting belonging to something bigger than themselves, and us older pilgrims know what they mean, too. Three days spent with friends, walking in the footsteps of heroes, reconquering the Adirondacks for Christ — no homecoming weekend can compete with that. And it’s a refreshing way to get away from the books or work’s grueling routine, to enjoy the company of friends in the open air – whether hiking and praying by day, or singing and dancing by the campfire by night.”
Lloyd also said the Pilgrimage this year will be almost 13 miles shorter. “The difference is also enough to shorten the Pilgrimage by a whole day, now beginning on Friday and ending Sunday. This way students miss only one day of class. Fewer days away is a boon to working families as well.”
Another reason for the changes was that Pilgrimage was too much like two pilgrimages, with Saturday’s pilgrims forming almost as a separate group, rather than joining as part of the same pilgrimage.
“The changes in distance and days bring the Pilgrimage more in line with the model pilgrimage in France, too”, Lloyd concluded.
Meanwhile, the best of Pilgrimage has not changed, with pilgrims’ prayers answered typically by the tons. Chanted liturgy in the traditional Roman rite of Mass is still offered daily. There are still ample opportunities for confession and spiritual guidance from the pilgrimage’s faithful priests. The beautiful singing, the fellowship — even a talent show & joke contests — the continuous prayer along the same holy ground still lead to the exquisite solemn high Mass offered at the shrine in Auriesville the last day, this year a Sunday.
Many pilgrims are expected – as in years past – also to join for the very last day, making the last short leg to the Auriesville shrine.
Almost nobody but the very young and spry actually walk the whole way. Volunteer organizers of the Company of St. Rene Goupil – the first of the French-American martyrs, who was also a doctor and a layman – shadow the columns of pilgrims, taking weary walkers into waiting vans, distributing refreshing water and offering first aid in charity.
Families and seniors still enjoy the option of the “modified pilgrimage“, which takes place mostly in the camps with daily Mass, meditation & common prayers, catechism, singing and games and generally a good time for all.
Even those unable to travel may join from afar in spiritual union, requesting prayers and offering prayers & sacrifices for the intentions of the pilgrims and the mission of the pilgrimage: restoration of grace to the soul.
A DVD-documentary, the Pilgrims’ Handbook — 60+ pp. of hymns & prayers (including an English translation of the Latin Mass), and a CD of the Songs of Pilgrimage are available on request, with donations accepted.
Inquiries may be directed to Pilgrimage Director, Gregory Lloyd, at <email@example.com>, by phone to 610/435-2634 or by mail to NCCL-Pilgrimage for Restoration, 621 Jordan Circle, Whitehall PA 18052-7119 USA.
Photos in this post by Jason Hupe from Adirondack Life magazine.