Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Joseph the Worker Parishes in Liverpool will be sponsoring a one-day pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy at Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass., on Sept. 12. A bus will depart from St. Joseph the Worker Church at 6:45 a.m. and return at 9 p.m.
Terry Wellenzohn, president of the Confraternity of the Rosary in Liverpool and an organizer of the pilgrimage, which has taken place over the last 10 years, said that 50 people took the trip last year. “It offers people a respite and peace for one day,” she said. “They have an opportunity for sharing and to experience the beauty of the Divine Mercy and the warmth of the brothers and fathers at the shrine.”
Wellenzohn shared some of reactions of last year’s retreatants. “They thought the Shrine was beautiful and they loved the opportunity to pray quietly,” she said.
The day of the pilgrimage is unstructured for those who attend. There are many places that offer opportunities for prayer and meditation at the site: the church, the life-size outdoor Stations of the Cross, the Candle Shrines, the Lourdes Grotto, the St. Joseph Patio and St. Peregrine’s Knoll.
Kathy Carpenter, a parishioner at St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse, made the pilgrimage three times. “It’s an amazing spiritual experience,” enthused Carpenter. “It’s a beautiful place.”
Carpenter was curious about the pilgrimage after reading about it in her church bulletin for the first time. “I had never heard of the Divine Mercy and I wanted to know about it,” she said. Carpenter learned the history of it while on her first bus trip to the shrine. “Then, when I got to the shrine, pictures of the history were displayed there,” she said.
The pilgrimages have enlightened Carpenter and also enhanced her faith. She now participates in Eucharistic Adoration every Thursday at Immaculate Heart of Mary where she says the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. “I feel it pleases God,” she said. “It’s about the opportunity Jesus has given us to experience mercy. He’s on my side.”
Special services are offered throughout the afternoon at the shrine. They include the following: Eucharistic Adoration, confessions, Rosary for Life, Holy Mass, blessing of religious articles, veneration of St. Faustina’s relic and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy for all intentions — healing, reconciliation and world peace.
Deacon Stephen Manzene has served as spiritual guide for the pilgrimage since it started. He offers a prayer at the beginning and at the end of the trip. He also serves as deacon during the Mass.
“It’s a very rewarding trip,” said Deacon Manzene. “I hope the people who take the pilgrimage have an increase in their faith and gain a better understanding of Mary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy and hopefully they’ll start praying it.”
For more information about the pilgrimage, call Wellenzohn at (315) 457-4630 or Sharon Flanagan at (315) 345-5396.