Visiting three Marian venues — two churches and a shrine — in a four-day, 45-mile hike, the Fatima Pilgrimage on the Katy Trail will lead about a dozen pilgrims on a "Path to Him through her," as the pilgrimage website states.
"This pilgrimage takes you through Mary's life," said Father Tim Foy, the parochial administrator at St. John the Baptist "Gildehaus" Parish in Villa Ridge.
The pilgrimage will begin Monday, Oct. 9, at Immaculate Conception Church in Augusta and end Friday, Oct. 13, at Assumption Church in New Haven. The final date coincides with the 100th anniversary of the sixth— and last — apparition of the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal. The previous day, the Fatima Pilgrimage will visit the Cross and the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg, Mo.
The route traces her life: her conception without sin, the death of her Son, Jesus, on the cross, and her assumption into heaven.
"These are the three big moments in her life," Father Foy said.
In addition to the trio of Marian venues, the pilgrimage hikers will stay overnight in conjunction with stops at St. Vincent Church in Dutzow, St. Ignatius Church in Concord Hill and the Shrine of St. Anthony near Case, Mo. There will be daily Mass at the churches and shrines, as well as Rosaries, prayers, hymns, camaraderie and walking "quietly with our God amidst some of the most peaceful countryside anywhere," Father Foy stated.
Father Foy and a couple of priest buddies — Father Henry Purcell, associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie, and Father Kevin Vogel of the Archdiocese of Omaha — made the pilgrimage last year as a trial run.
Host families will welcome pilgrims for overnight stays near each stop. The availability of host families limited the pilgrims to a small number; the roster for the week-long walk already is set for this year, though day pilgrims are welcome to join the group. Rectories will be used for overnights as well.
"People have stepped forward and have been very generous," said Father Foy, noting that possible future walks might include overnight stays in parish centers. Several already host bicycle groups riding the Katy Trail.
Father Foy drew inspiration for the Fatima Pilgrimage from a pilgrimage to Poland in 2014. He and Father Vogel were among about 1,500 people who walked from Kraków to the Shrine of Our Lady of Tuchów, about 60 miles over six days. Participants ranged from children in strollers being pushed by parents to people in their 70s. People came out to wave and encourage them in towns along the way.
Father Foy described the pilgrimage as "an excellent way to continue to the work that begins in Mass: 'Go you are sent' ..."
"The spirit of pilgrimage is a tremendous gift that God can give us as we go through this great pilgrimage of life," he wrote on the pilgrimage website. "We grow in the ability to find joy even while we spend ourselves for God. May all of us realize that we are His children called to strengthen one another."
Fatima Pilgrimage: Katy Trail
What: 45-mile pilgrimage along the Katy Trail to mark the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother's apparitions in Fatima, Portugal. Features include daily Mass, Rosaries and prayer.
When: Monday, Oct. 9 to Friday, Oct. 13
Monday, Oct. 9 • Immaculate Conception Church in Augusta (11 a.m. Mass) to St. Vincent Church in Dutzow (*4 p.m.)
Tuesday, Oct. 19 • St. Vincent (8 a.m. Mass) to St. Ignatius Church in Concord Hill (*3 p.m.)
Wednesday, Oct. 11 • St. Ignatius (9 a.m. Lauds) to Shrine of St. Anthony near Case, Mo. (*5 p.m. Mass)
Thursday, Oct 12. • St. Anthony (9 a.m.) to the Cross and the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg, Mo. (*2 p.m. Mass)
Friday, Oct. 13 • car ride, Our Lady of Sorrows (8:30 a.m.) to Assumption Church in New Haven (9:15 Mass)
Information: Father Tim Foy at firstname.lastname@example.org or at St. John the Baptist "Gildehaus" Parish (636) 583-2488; or visit www.katytrailpilgrimage.com
* Approximate times RELATED ARTICLE(S):