Honoring the First Amerindian Saint

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is scheduled to be canonized on October 21, 2012. Less than a month before that, she will be honored by the pilgrims walking the annual “Pilgrimage for Restoration” to Auriesville, New York. Below, I reproduce a press release that explains this year’s theme, which explicitly mentions the holy Mohawk virgin every Catholic American should love.

In promoting this worthwhile event, I feel the need to make a brief apologia. While the event is not something sponsored or organized by Saint Benedict Center, MICM religious, our IHM School students, and other affiliated faithful are well represented on the pilgrimage every year. This is no coincidence. We go for several reasons, some of which may inspire our readers to join us this year — or even to organize similar events in our own locale.

Here are five reasons — and I could add more — why to go on pilgrimage:

  1. It is traditional. Catholics have been going on pilgrimage from the patristic era. Many traditionalists talk a lot about tradition and bewail the betrayal of tradition; here, we are given a great opportunity to do tradition. (Traditionalism, after all, is an affirmation.)
  2. It is apostolic. This pilgrimage honors the Martyrs who brought the true Faith to these shores. Although this year’s theme mentions Blessed Kateri by name, the destination has always been the Shrine of the North American Martyrs. Since our Crusade is for a Catholic America, we cherish this opportunity to walk in the footsteps of our martyred forebears, and beg their help as we continue to work for a Catholic America.
  3. It is penitential. We live in a soft, luxury-loving age. The faithful are in need of the practice of penance to expiate for their own sins, to build solid virtue, and to implore the manifold graces that are so needed for our personal good, as well as the good of our families and our nation.
  4. It is liturgical. Along the way, we assist daily at sung Masses in the traditional rite, at least two of them being Solemn Masses. That, along with the constant availability of good priests for confession, makes the pilgrimage a highly liturgical event. Those who love the Church’s traditional liturgy will have their fill of it on pilgrimage.
  5. It is edifying. Sermons, meditations, and mutual encouragement serve to build up faith and virtue in the pilgrims. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life have been fostered, and married couples have met on the way to Auriesville. Couples who made pilgrimage before marrying have returned with baby strollers. Conversions to the faith have also happened. I personally know a Protestant man who walked with our brigade and is now Catholic. Deo gratias!

Without further comment from me, here is the NCCL’s press release promoting the event (which we encourage you to copy and circulate as widely as you can):

Pilgrimage for Restoration Honors
First Native American Saint

Gregory Lloyd, director of the Pilgrimage for Restoration, has announced the theme for the seventeenth annual pilgrimage, which takes place September 28 to 30, 2012. This year’s theme, in honor of the soon-to-be-canonized Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, is “Restoration of True Devotion to Mary, in the footsteps of Saint Kateri.”

The pilgrimage begins at the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament (“Lake George”, NY), and ends at the Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs, in Auriesville, New York. Pilgrims walk, sing, camp, and pray along the paths traversed by the North American Martyrs – venerating as they go the places these heroes of God sanctified by their blood witness to Christ and His Church. High Mass in the traditional Roman Rite (extraordinary form) is offered daily, and priests are available for confession and spiritual guidance throughout the pilgrimage. The journey terminates in a beautiful Solemn Mass offered at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs on Sunday, September 30.

Pilgrims can go the entire distance – sixty-three miles over three days – or join for the very last day, making the last short leg to the Auriesville shrine. In addition, there is a “modified pilgrimage” for seniors and parents with young children. This lends a Catholic family atmosphere to the pilgrimage, and makes the event “something for everyone.” Transportation for weary pilgrims is provided throughout, as are a safety escort and trained medical personnel.

Explaining the significance of this year’s theme, Lloyd said, “This year we pilgrims are filled with special joy. For seventeen years we’ve joined the millions who, for centuries, have prayed for Saint Kateri’s canonization. We feel a deep confidence this year that the ‘Lily of the Mohawks’ will hear our prayers, and ask Christ to grant every perfect gift to those who ask in her name.”

He concluded with a broad invitation to the pilgrimage. “We invite all men of good will to do penance and to pray with us to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to obtain from her Son the grace of conversion and Catholic Faith for all Americans, to gain for the Church in North America victory in the struggle against the tyranny of relativism, and to expel again the forces of darkness from our Lands. And while you’re at it, come have what pilgrims for 17 unforgettable years have called, ‘the time of your life’ with friends in the beautiful Adirondacks!”

To register online, or to obtain more information, interested parties are referred to the web site of the National Coalition of Clergy and Laity: www.national-coalition.org/pilgrim/. Inquiries may be directed to the Pilgrimage Director, Gregory Lloyd:

National Coalition of Clergy & Laity
621 Jordan Circle
Whitehall PA 18052-7119

610-435-2634 tel.
[email protected] email