The Conference, the Pilgrimage, and All That

This Ad Rem is something of a collection of notes on recent and upcoming events.

The Conference. The first thing is our annual conference, which is fast approaching (October 30-31). Our speakers will explore the theme, “Toward an Integral Catholic Culture: Variations on a Theme of Father Feeney.” The conference schedule is now posted. For further information on venue, lodgings, meals, etc., please click here. The deadline for meals registration is October 15. There is no deadline for conference registration.

The Pilgrimage. The next item is the Auriesville pilgrimage, properly called the “Pilgrimage for Restoration.” Our regular brigades made the pilgrimage again. This year, I was asked to assume the role of “Chief of Brigadiers,” which was a first for me. I enjoyed the role, quite frankly, and was happy to contribute to the common good of the pilgrimage.

The annual Pilgrimage for Restoration is a sixty-five mile walk from Lake George to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY. For four days, pilgrims attend Mass together, walk, camp, sing, pray, and suffer the agony of de-feet. It’s an unforgettably joyful penitential experience. Those who would like to learn more can read something about the pilgrimage on our site, and look at the event’s official web site.

Our hats are off to the pilgrimage organizers, for planing an event that has been such an occasion of grace for thousands of people these fourteen years. Priestly and religious vocations have been fostered on pilgrimage. I know a priest who, as a young man, made the pilgrimage. He returned years later to hear confessions for the pilgrims. Conversions have been made, such as the Protestant gentleman who was part of our brigade. Not long after that year’s pilgrimage, he came into the Church. (Granted, this was but one of a whole string of graces, but that’s the way grace works!) Catholic young men and women have found their spouses on pilgrimage. It was a joy to see a baby making part of the pilgrimage in his mother’s arms, while his father acted as brigadier for one of the newer brigades. Mom and Dad had met on pilgrimage. And what can be said of the priests who make the pilgrimage? They are spiritual athletes, offering High Masses at 5:00 AM, walking all day while hearing confessions and giving private direction as well as public spiritual conferences to entire brigades. One sees in them the zeal of the North American Martyrs, whose shrine is the terminus of the journey.

Next year, we hope to make the pilgrimage again, with our two SBC-sponsored brigades — Saint Joseph’s for men and boys, and IHM for single ladies and girls.

Remembering Brother Francis. The next Mancipia is in the works. We are going to dedicate the entire issue to Brother Francis, with our various contributors giving their own personal thought on our great mentor. There obviously is not enough room to do him justice in our newsletter format, but we will do our best.

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