Winter pilgrimage to Quebec brings three parishes together in faith and fellowship

Following Christmas, more than 60 parishioners from Christ Our Light Parish in Pulaski, Holy Trinity Parish in Fulton and St. Anne, Mother of Mary Parish in Mexico traveled with pastor Father John Canorro and parochial vicar Father James Schultz on a pilgrimage to Canada. From Dec. 28 to 30, the group, composed mostly of teens,

visited numerous sights including St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal, St. Anne’s Shrine (Ste. Anne de Beaupre) in Quebec, Notre Dame Church in Quebec, and the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in Montreal. The group enjoyed daily Mass together and used the travel time each day on the bus to say a decade of the rosary.

“We all had a wonderful time,” stated Father Canorro. “I had never been to Montréal and I was amazed at all the beautiful churches and shrines. I couldn’t choose a favorite if I tried: they were all so impressive.”

Father Schultz, who has traveled extensively to Canada, coordinated the trip with Youth Minister Elizabeth Ocxkowski as a way to foster fellowship and faith between the youth of the three parishes.

“I think the kids really grew in their faith during this trip,” stated Ocxkowski. “It was wonderful for the kids to experience French culture and the trip was really inspiring for everyone.”

Traveling during the Christmas season proved to be an added benefit for the group. “The manger scenes were simply amazing,” stated Father Schultz. “I am so glad the kids got a chance to see them.”

Jack Carnes, 11, a student at Pulaski Middle School and a member of Christ Our Light Parish, enjoyed the adventure to Canada. “The churches were really big and really beautiful and I liked all the really cool architecture,” said Jack.

Zoe Eisel, 11, also a student at Pulaski Middle School, enjoyed saying the rosary with her travel companions. “It was interesting. It took a lot of time but I am glad I did it,” said Zoe.

Despite the stunning beauty of the chapels, churches and shrines, one major attraction for all the teens seemed to be a stop for a little snow tubing at Valcartier Winter Park in Quebec.

“It wasn’t just tubing, it was extreme snow tubing,” laughed Maggie Williams, 17, a student at G. Ray Bodley High School and a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Fulton. Williams enjoyed the trip with her two sisters, Hope, 17, and Carly, 17, as well as her mother, Veronica.

“It was a great trip and I’d like to go on more trips with this group,” stated Maggie. “We all got along really well and it was so much fun. I really loved Canada.”

During the trip each member of the group wore a shirt with the words, “Let’s pray for each other always,” in Latin. “We even sent a shirt to the bishop because not only is he our shepherd, it’s a really cool shirt,” explained Father Schultz.

Although the three churches haven’t created a formalized youth program as of yet, trips like the one to Canada will help foster interest in creating a strong foundation for a program in the future.

“I hope we can do more trips like this and encourage teens and their parents to visit the beautiful churches and shrines that are out there,” stated Father Schultz. “Whenever you go on a church pilgrimage, it’s another way to honor God.”

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