Hispanic Catholics plan walking pilgrimage to shrine May 12

By | May 2, 2012

“In the home countries, they have really beautiful pilgrimages to the places where they can walk,” he said. “We will pray the rosary, sing Marian songs and, most importantly, have the Hispanic community together. Sometimes the people feel alone because they don’t have any activities that they can share with other people. This will allow them to be together and pray together. We will pray to God for new priests who speak Spanish so we can have more communities. We will pray for vocations. We will pray to Mary for help with immigration.”


A look inside the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Chapel. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Mass will be celebrated at the shrine. Pilgrims are asked to bring their own food for a meal on the grounds following the liturgy. Transportation back to St. Thomas the Apostle will be provided.

The event will serve as an introduction to the shrine for many of the faithful in the Hispanic Catholic community, said Fr. Castañeda.

“Some have been there before, but I asked some of the people and they didn’t have any idea about the shrine,” he said. “If you explain that the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is almost like the basilica in Mexico for the Virgin Guadalupe, they are so excited to have their own devotion here. I explain to them that it is the same Mary with a different name. I am sure they will go themselves to the shrine in the future to sit in prayer.”

Jornadas de Vida Cristiana (Journey of a Christian Life), a Hispanic youth group movement, is helping lead the pilgrimage. The group is for young adults, ages 18 and older. Members must complete a retreat to join. The young adults attend Esculita de Auxiliaries (the School of Auxiliaries) each Sunday. They have formed a choir and assist at Mass once a month. The Spanish Mass is celebrated at noon on Sundays at St. Philip.

The importance of Jornadas and other Hispanic ministry groups is growing as the Hispanic Catholic community continues to grow, said Fr. Castañeda. St. Philip regularly has 400 people at its Spanish Mass. Celebrations such as Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday attract as many as 700 people. More than 800 attended last year’s Mass in celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe with Bishop David Ricken.

“When we had first Communion, the church was full,” said Fr. Castañeda. “We have two years of preparation. This year, we had 20 children. We will have two groups next year with around 40 children.”

Fr. Castañeda is hoping for a good turnout for the pilgrimage and that it leads to future celebrations.

“Next year it will be different, maybe a Marian day with some speakers,” he said. “Last year we had the first Hispanic Congress with 300 people. Every two years, we can have the congress or maybe a Marian congress. Right now, we are just focusing on this event. The main component is to grow the devotion in the Hispanic community.”

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