Midway through journey, diocesan pilgrims to France send, receive prayers
Forty pilgrims from the Diocese of Peoria aren’t alone in traveling back and forth from France Jan. 22-31. Prayers are also flying in both directions, especially prayers for vocations.
Bishop Louis Tylka is leading the pilgrimage – today the group is in Nevers, Chartres and Lisieux – with the assistance of Father Chase Hilgenbrinck, diocesan vocation director of recruitment, and Father Patrick Henehan, diocesan vocation director of formation and pastor of St. Jude Parish in Peoria. Among the pilgrims is Father Keith Walder, pastor of St. Thomas Parish in Philo and St. Mary Parish in Pesotum.
Prayers for “an increase of holy priests, consecrated men and women, and strong marriages” in the Diocese of Peoria started early and have continued with the help of prayer cards made available from the Office of Priestly Vocations.
“As you have called them to this journey, grant that this time of pilgrimage may open their hearts and lead them deeper to you,” the prayer says. “May you fulfill in all of us the call to be coworkers in the vineyard, creating and promoting a culture of vocations within our Diocese.”
The pilgrimage started with a visit to Ars, which was the home of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. There they gathered for Mass at the Cure of Ars Basilica.
Bishop Tylka said it was a wonderful day, “learning the life of St. John Vianney, celebrating Mass at his tomb, praying for vocations and our priests, hearing Confessions – what a blessing!”
Another important stop was planned for Friday, Jan. 27, with Mass in the chapel of the Carmel near the tomb of St. Thérèse, the patroness of vocations for the Diocese of Peoria. Mass is to take place in the crypt of the Basilica of Lisieux on Saturday, Jan. 28.
The pilgrimage was to end with three days in Paris. Masses on these days were to be celebrated at the Shrine of St. Catherine of Laboure, to whom was given the Miraculous Medal, and the crypt of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur).
The diocesan pilgrims are scheduled to fly home on Tuesday, Jan. 31.