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2006 Pilgrimage for Restoration
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The eleventh annual Pilgrimage for Restoration drew throngs of enthusiastic Catholics from across the US, Canada, and beyond to the Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, central New York State, from Wednesday, September 27 through Saturday, September 30. Saturday’s participants, which included senior citizens and many young parents pushing infants in strollers, were joining those pilgrims who began the pilgrimage for the ninth straight year from the shores of the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament (commonly called Lake George, NY) on the previous Wednesday.

About 230 pilgrims returned to pray, sing and walk 68 miles to the Fonda Shrine in three days to meet up with hundreds more walking the last leg to Auriesville Saturday. This year again many families with small children, and seniors, joined the ranks of those pilgrims walking more than one day.

Rev. Fr. Thomas Longua of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Scranton, PA, and Rev. Fr. Jean-Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Green Bay, WI, returned to serve the pilgrims spiritually. They were assisted by Rev. Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, also of the Fraternity. The priests heard confessions, preached sermons, gave instruction and offered Holy Mass each day.

Material assistance was provided pilgrims throughout by volunteers of the Company of St. René Goupil, a lay apostolate named after the first of the Martyrs. Spiritual Father of the Company is Michael Ehinger of Houston, TX, assisted this year by Executive Officer Frank Piazza of Arnold, MD.

On each of the three days en route to Fonda, and in Auriesville on Saturday, Holy Mass was offered according to the traditional Roman missal of 1962 rehabilitated by Pope John Paul II seventeen years ago with the motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei. In all, 15 traditional Latin Masses were offered during the pilgrimage.

Celebrant and homilist of the Mass on Saturday was Fr. Jean-Marie Moreau, who was joined Saturday by other priests who heard confessions en route and at the shrines.

The New York Catholic Chorale directed by Mr. Thomas Savoy of Albany, NY provided music for the high Mass, Saturday. The choir’s glorious praise featured the Mass Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, as well as the motets Sicut Cervus and Alma Redemptoris Mater by Palestrina and Ave Maria by Tomas Luis de Victoria.

The annual spiritual exercise is conducted to restore the preeminence of grace. Two specific intentions are the restoration of the Catholic family and of the ancient Roman liturgical and spiritual patrimony. This year's theme was Restoration of True Devotion to Mary: Mother of Divine

Love.

Sponsors of the event, the National Coalition of Clergy & Laity, say the annual pilgrimage is a spiritual exercise of penance and reparation for sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the salvation of souls, with a view of cooperating in the work of the Martyrs to convert our lands to Christ Our King — ad majorem Dei gloriam.

Inspiration and model for the pilgrimage comes from the ancient Chartres pilgrimage, rehabilitated two decades ago, which draws thousands of Catholics to France each Pentecost. Organizers of the French pilgrimage,the apostolate Association Notre-Dame de Chrétienté, exchange greetings and prayers with their American counterparts now for years. This year organizers of the Pilgrimage for Restoration exchanged greetings with organizers of the traditional Christus Rex Pilgrimage in Australia, also modeled on the Chartre pilgrimage.

Saturday’s ceremonies began in the early morning with prayers at the Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda where the “Lily of the Mohawks” was baptized and lived. On Saturday, as on all four days, pilgrims sang hymns and recited the Holy Rosary and other prayers, while priests heard confessions. The column arrived early in the afternoon Saturday at the Coliseum Church of Our Lady of Martyrs where the final Latin Mass was offered. The church stands at the site where Saints Isaac Jogues, René Goupil and John de LaLande were martyred in 1642 and 1646, at the Iroquois village of Ossernenon.

Following Holy Mass many pilgrims venerated the holy grounds of Ossernenon, including the ravine where St. René, the first of the martyrs and a layman, was buried by St. Isaac. Organizers consider the pilgrimage an opportunity for North American Catholics to celebrate the Church’s history of evangelization on this continent and to resolve to continue the work of the missionaries in a spirit of restoration, the same spirit which animates the pilgrimage to Chartres.

They anticipate more Catholics to join the pilgrimage next year to pray for the reform so urgently needed. The twelfth annual Pilgrimage for Restoration is scheduled to take place September 26-29, 2007.

A recording on CD or cassette of the many traditional hymns sung during the pilgrimage is available for a suggested donation of $20 to the National Coalition. The companion “Pilgrims’ Handbook” — 65 pages of lyrics and prayers, including the texts of the 1962 Roman missal in Latin and English — is also available, and comes with the recording, on request. A documentary film of the Pilgrimage is also available on DVD or VHS, for a suggested donation of $15.

For more information contact the Company of St. René Goupil or the National Coalition of Clergy & Laity at 621 Jordan Circle, Whitehall PA 18052-7119; tel 610/435-2634; fax 610/435-2734; coalition@fast.net & www.national-coalition.org

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