The Marian pilgrims of the diocese, who have been traveling to Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception every two years, stayed closer to home Oct. 22 by taking a faith journey to New Castle.
There, about 150 people, some of whom had never seen the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace at Holy Spirit Church before, attended a 1 p.m. holy hour with a talk by Father Leonard Klein, director of Pro-Life Activities and administrator of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and St. Patrick Churches; exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a 4 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Malooly, and a recitation of the rosary at the Queen of Peace statue.
Dr. Bill Moncevicz, a parishioner at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, said he attended to “give honor to the holy Mother.”
Moncevicz knows his Mary statues. As a former president of the Archdiocese of Boston’s World Fatima Apostolate, he accompanied the Pilgrim Virgin Fatima statue into China in 1982.
His pilgrimage to New Castle marked the first time he saw the Charles Parks statue of Mary up close. “I’m impressed,” he said.
Sue Franckowiak, from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Seaford, made the pilgrimage with Father Charles Hergenroeder and fellow parishioners.
She said the statue, “takes my breath away.”
Lydia Rivell, from Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington, observed the Queen of Peace statue and said, “the Virgin Mary is pregnant.”
That was appropriate for Rivell, who said she was celebrating her birthday at the day’s devotions with her husband, Bob, and their five children, because she wanted to honor Mary at the pilgrimage during Respect Life Month.
In his homily during the 4 p.m. Mass for the diocesan pilgrims and members of Holy Spirit Parish, Bishop Malooly told the congregation there were three things to pray for during the pilgrimage to the Blessed Virgin Mary shrine.
First, the bishop said, “we ask for a spirit of love that we may live in peace as one family united in love for one another.”
During October, “as we pray for love and respect of all life from conception to natural death,” the bishop said, “love and prayer are our best attack on abortion and euthanasia and a lack of respect for life.”
The bishop said, “Our second prayer is for unity and peace. We ask that we many live in peace as one family and that we may build up in our world the peace that Christ left with us.”
Finally, the bishop asked the diocesan pilgrims to “pray for tranquility in our times.”
He noted Msgr. Joseph Rebman, director of the diocesan Marian pilgrimage and pastor of St. Joseph on the Brandywine, has noted that in days of political, economic and social turmoil in the world, “prayers to Almighty God through the intentions of Our Lady Queen of Peace are certainly appropriate and will be beneficial to us.
Members of St. Joseph on the Brandywine Choir sang during the pilgrimage Mass and the choir from St. Mark’s High School sang during a candlelight procession from the church to Mary’s statue. After a recitation of the rosary, Bishop Malooly led the pilgrims in an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.