New Rosary Pilgrimage of Hope during COVID-19

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Catholic Weekly journalist David Ryan with Steve Buhagiar from the Archdiocesan Life Marriage and Family Office visit the pilgrimage statue of Our Lady Help of Christians in Camperdown under the stewardship of Luke Rifkin of the Servants of Our Lady Help of Christians (pictured on the right). Catholic artist Sarah Marie Alimangohan (centre-right) has been working on the decorations for the pilgrim sedan PHOTO Alphonsus Fok

Thirty-one parishes in the Sydney Archdiocese are hosting a new pilgrimage throughout October for the patroness of Australia – Our Lady Help of Christians. Each day a pilgrim statue of Our Lady Help of Christians will tour the respective parishes with the invitation for the community to pray together.

A map of the 2020 Rosary Pilgrimage can be viewed here

The thirty-one locations of the 2020 Rosary Pilgrimage in Sydney – one location for each day of the month SCREENSHOT GOOGLE MAPS

A schedule of the tour and their times can be viewed here

The 2020 Rosary pilgrimage, centred on devotion to the rosary and Our Lady Help of Christians, is a point of hope during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

people have spoken about the great need to hold onto hope

An Italian woman prays in a window opening overlooking a street in Milan, Italy, March 21, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19. A recent study shows an increase in prayer and religious fervor in Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS photo/Salvatore Laporta, Reuters) See COVID-PRAYER-STUDY May 22, 2020.

“During COVID a lot of people have spoken about the great need to hold onto hope. The rosary is one of those reminders – we turn to Our Lady. Wherever Our Lady is she brings us to Jesus,” said Steve Buhagiar, a team leader from the Sydney Archdiocese’s Life Marriage and Family Office.

Our Lady Help of Christians at the St Joseph’s Camperdown Servants of Mary piety store PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Mr Buhagiar was inspired to organise the pilgrimage after discovering information on an ancient pilgrimage in Boulogne, France – Our Lady of the Grand Return – which was credited with helping to revitalise French Catholics after WWII. “The article piqued my interest and prompted me to do something locally,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

Pilgrimage Procession of Our Lady of the Return in Paris, France after The Second World War in 1945 – the pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Return across the war ravaged nation did much to revitalise the disparate feelings during the crisis of that era 

Coordination of the pilgrimage will be shared with the Life, Marriage and Family and Sydney Catholic Youth teams, as well as the Confraternity of the Servants of Mary Help of Christians – who are supplying a statue of Our Lady to be a focus for the tour.

A schedule of the tour and their times can be viewed here

The statue itself has its own history of touring Australia in a trailer since its arrival in Australia from Italy in 1991. Now it is being taken out once again as a rallying of hope during the doldrums of the COVID-era.

‘Pardon at Kergoat’, an oil painting on canvas depicting a traditional ‘pardon’ Marian ceremony at Kergoat in Brittany, France by Jules Breton (1891) Public Domain

“So we are taking a very traditional element of our Catholic faith in a pilgrimage and marrying it with the title of Mary Help of Christians,” said Mr Buhagiar who is encouraging all to participate.

Marian procession in Sydney from 2019 (pre-COVID). Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia Pray for us PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“If Our Lady is coming to visit your parish why not register to be in attendance? Bring your family – or pray along with us online via the Life Marriage Family facebook page.” October is traditionally regarded as a Marian month, with the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on 7 October.

A young Sydney Catholic man praying the rosary with devotion in a local parish – the bedrock of the faith PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Arrangements throughout the pilgrimage will be conducted in accordance with the ongoing social-distancing regulations with limited capacity at each venue. To take part in the pilgrimage it is therefore advised to register attendance at the parish of your choice by contacting your parish office. Devotional resources on the pilgrimage can be found on the Life Marriage and Family Facebook page or at the Life Marriage and Family website.

A schedule of the tour and their times can be viewed here

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