July 14, 2011
Friars and Laity visit Seven Churches in Manhattan
On July 9th, the Memorial of St. John of Gorcum, about 30 men and women made an eight-mile pilgrimage through the streets of Manhattan, singing and praying along the way. This pilgrimage is part of a growing tradition in the Province of St. Joseph. Organized and implemented by the Dominican student brothers, these pilgrimages seek to foster devotion and fraternal charity amongst the pilgrims and to provide public witness to the faith. The Manhattan pilgrimage included seven churches: beginning at the Church of Notre Dame near Columbia University, the pilgrimage proceeded to Saint Jean Baptiste, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Church of Our Savior, and ended at St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village for holy Mass and a cookout. The pilgrims prayed the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day, and received special blessings from the pastors and priests of the parishes. The route chosen took the pilgrims through Central Park, where Cleopatra’s Needle provided shade during one of the liturgical hours of the Divine Office. The pilgrims formed a diverse cross-section of the Church. Six Dominican friars and two Franciscan Friars of the Renewal took part, along with twenty-some lay pilgrims ranging from families pushing strollers to men discerning religious life to a Columbia University professor. The making of pilgrimages is a tradition as old as religious civilization itself. A long-established act of piety or discernment even in the pagan world, the pilgrimage became a major expression of Christian devotion in the Middle Ages, although one of the first written accounts of a Christian pilgrimage dates from the fourth century A.D. As the renewal of our Church continues, the Dominican friars hope to continue this tradition of regional pilgrimages to foster the devotion of the People of God and increase the visibility of the Church in our local communities. -Br. Raphael Forbing, O.P.