Pilgrimage Sunday makes noice in the news
Catholic schools unite for annual pilgrimage
It was early, it was drizzling, and they were trudging to school on a Sunday.
But for nearly 800 students of the two Niagara Falls Catholic high schools, it’s a Sunday that matters more than usual. For the 42nd year, they joined Catholic high schools across the region for the annual pilgrimage, raising money for countries in need overseas.
Once a year, Saint Michael and Saint Paul high schools in the Falls put aside their rivalry to make the trek. Sunday’s stroll was 10.5 kilometres, starting at Saint Michael on McLeod Road. With parents and school staff, about 1,000 people took part.
Saint Michael does the walk for the Hope for Rwanda Children’s Fund, while Saint Paul walks for The Immaculate Conception School in Haiti.
“We had just a few kids that didn’t show up today,” says Frances Caruso-Leitch, a Saint Michael chemistry teacher and the school’s pilgrimage chairwoman. “It’s an event where kids take real pride in being here every year, being able to say ‘I’ve walked every year.’
“It’s a really nice opportunity for students to look a little beyond what’s going on here. Not to negate that, that there’s not important need at home too, but we do have to be more globally aware. That’s what our faith tells us to do.”
Caruso-Leitch says Saint Michael raised about $21,000 this year, and has raised more than $200,00 in total over the years for the Rwanda fund.
Saint Paul program chair for religious studies Joanne Santini says the school collected about $15,000 this year for the Haiti school.
“It helps them to purchase desks, paper, pens, pencils, the basic necessities that they need,” she says.
The day started with registration at 8 a.m., followed by mass with the two schools at 9 a.m. The walk was underway at about 10:15 a.m.
“Every year they’re excited because they want to make a difference,” says Santini, adding each student must raise a minimum of $40 to take part.
“They realize what a difference $40 makes…we have an assembly to explain what we have compared to what they don’t. And how the forty dollars can make a difference in their lives.”
Source: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2017/10/29/catholic-schools-unite-for-annual-pilgrimage Featured photo captions: Students from Saint Michael and Saint Paul high schools start the long hike for their annual pilgrimage Sunday. The walk raises funds for overseas relief efforts. PHOTO: John Law / Niagara Falls Review
Annual pilgrimage demonstrates solidarity
Notre Dame College School in Welland was one of many catholic high schools in the region to take part in an annual pilgrimage on Sunday.
It was the 42nd annual pilgrimage for the Fighting Irish and saw around 800 participants, including current students, Notre Dame alumni, future students from feeder schools and members from the community.
Teacher Carol Berkhout said it was great to see so many people out, especially considering the dreary weather. She was also impressed with how many students chose to give up their Sunday to make the walk from the school, down the Welland recreational canal path to the Dain City Bridge and back.
“It’s a way to put their feet to the gospels,” she said of the pilgrimage.
She explained the pilgrimage shows solidarity with those in the developing world who don’t have the same privileges and freedoms as we do here in Canada. Many times, she said, youth feel like they can’t do much to make a difference in the world, so the pilgrimage is an effort to show that there are things they can do that does help.
This year’s theme for the pilgrimage was “balancing the scales of justice” and focuses on the catholic social teachings of solidarity, goodness and dignity for people.
“When we understand those things and live those things, we have a better balanced world,” she said.
Another way the pilgrimage makes a difference is by raising money for three organizations: Development and Peace, the Dominican Canadian Community Development Group and Yancana Huasy. Of the three, the Dominican Canadian Community Development Group was actually founded by Notre Dame alumni.
Last year, she said those who participated in the pilgrimage raised $38,500 for these organizations. This year’s donations have not been tallied yet.
After the walk, the community was invited to a mass, where she said candles were used to like the service. The service started with one candle which was used to light the rest, which she said is powerful symbolism to show how one person can make a difference and positively influence the lives of others.
The pilgrimage was started in 1975 by Holy Cross Father and Notre Dame alumnus Jim Mulligan, who helped kick off the pilgrimage on Sunday with a short prayer service.
Pilgrimage helps those in need
Niagara Catholic District School Board’s director of education John Crocco is hoping people will be very generous with donations this year as up to 7,000 students from eight high schools take part in the 42nd annual pilgrimage Sunday.
While the various groups and organizations in countries like Rwanda, Haiti, Peru, Guatemala Dominica and the Dominican Republic rely on the funds raised each year, the need is especially great in the Caribbean nations, Crocco said.
Haiti, Dominica and the Dominican Republic were hit hard by hurricanes earlier this fall, he said.
“We want to provide every bit of assistance we can to our brothers and sisters in need in those countries.”
This year marks the 31st time Crocco, a former Lakeshore Catholic High School principal, has taken part in the pilgrimage, which occurs on the last Sunday of October.
“Students could choose to stay at home, but they come out in nice weather and the rain … we’ve even walked in the snow before.”
The pilgrimage, which raises awareness of, and funds for, various social justice programs, also sees school staff, trustees, family members, Catholic school supporters and Grade 8 students come out to walk between 10 and 18 kilometres.
It’s also the culmination of year-long fundraising events.
Last year the pilgrimage raised $150,000 and has raised nearly $7 million over the last 41 years.
“We’re very proud of our students and staff,” said Crocco, who travelled with students to help out in Dominica and Grenada when he was at Lakeshore.
The pilgrimage was first started in 1975 by Father James Mulligan at Notre Dame College School in Welland and expanded to include all eight Catholic high schools over the years.
“The schools have long-standing relationships with many of the organizations and groups in the different countries, they’ve formed close bonds with the people,” said Crocco. “They count on the pilgrimage every year.”
2017 Pilgrimage Times and Routes
Notre Dame College School
Notre Dame’s Pilgrimage will head south along the Welland Canal Trail to Dain City Bridge and return. Mass and Candlelight Liturgy will begin at approximately 1:00 p.m.
Lakeshore Catholic High School
Pilgrims will walk from 10 a.m. ‐ noon from the school on Janet Street to Killaly Street, turning onto Fares Avenue, left on Reuter Road (which becomes Lakeshore Road East), then left onto Lorraine Road and from there onto the Friendship Trail. They will follow the Friendship Trail back to Fares Street, and back to Killaly and to the school.
Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School
Starting at 10 a.m. students will proceed west on Livingston Ave. to Casablanca. South on Casablanca to Main St., east on Main to Centennial Park in Grimsby, the halfway point where students will be provided with food and drinks courtesy of Pillar’s grill team. Students will then proceed back down Main St. back to Blessed Trinity.
Denis Morris Catholic High School
Pilgrims will leave DM at 9 a.m. to walk to Market Square. They will follow Glen Morris Drive to Jacobson Avenue, turn right on Jacobson and proceed to Glendale Avenue. From there, they will proceed to Glenridge Avenue, then follow Glenridge to Westchester Avenue, and from Westchester to King Street. They will be joined by students from Holy Cross and Saint Francis Catholic Secondary Schools and celebrate Mass at Market Square. All three schools will then process through the downtown area, return to Market Square for lunch and then leave from there at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School
Pilgrims will meet at Holy Cross at 7:30 a.m .and depart for Market Square at approximately 8 am (or shortly thereafter). Mass at Market Square is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. After Mass, we will have lunch and participate in an inner‐city walk. Students should be en route back to the school by 12:30 p.m.
Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School
Pilgrims depart Saint Francis for the 15‐kilometre walk down Lake Street at 9:30 a.m. to join Holy Cross and Denis Morris for mass at Market Square. This is followed by a downtown loop with all three schools together that moves along King St., Ontario St., St. Paul St., Geneva St., Russell Ave. to Lake St. and back to Market Square for lunch and departure.
Saint Michael and Saint Paul Catholic High Schools
Once again, Saint Michael and Saint Paul Catholic High Schools will walk in together in Niagara Falls. This year’s Pilgrimage is hosted by Saint Michael Catholic High School. Pilgrims will walk beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. and will proceed east on McLeod Rd., North on Kalar Rd., east on Lundy’s Lane to the Millenium Trail, north on Millenium Trail looping around and proceeding south on Dorchester, west on Lundy’s Lane, South on Kalar Rd., and then west on McLeod Rd. back to the school.