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Pilgrimage from Our Lady of Guadalupe to Queen of Peace commemorates Lent

In the early years of Lenten pilgrimages, Joseph Tolin said, Catholics would want to visit places where Jesus Christ lived and walked, where he ascended into Heaven on Mount Tabor and where he died on Golgotha, also known as Calvary.

“Pilgrimages, in and of themselves, are really as ancient as the Christian religion,” said Tolin, director of St. Blaise School of Chant at Our Lady or Lourdes in Vidor. “People would travel miles and miles on foot to reach these places of pilgrimage so they can put themselves where our Lord Jesus walked.”

But pilgrimages such as one held annually in Port Arthur symbolize more that of one’s earthly journey toward Heaven, what Tolin calls the ultimate goal.

Tolin is director for the ninth annual Lenten pilgrimage in Port Arthur, which will take walkers down 9th Avenue from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 3648 S/Sgt. Lucian Adams Blvd., to the Queen of Peace Shrine, 800 9th Ave.

The day will begin with confessions at 8:15 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe, where mass will follow at 9. The pilgrimage will start with the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, then will journey to St. Catherine of Siena, Calvary Catholic Cemetery, St. James Catholic Church and end at about 3 p.m. at the Queen of Peace Shrine, which is across from the Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church.

The journey covers about 5 miles.

Fr. Michael Malain will give the walkers and other attendees a final blessing at the Our Lady of Peace statue.

“We start with Holy Mass and the start of our pilgrimage, and that’s very much the start of our life, symbolically,” Tolin said.

Tolin added approximately 150 people participated in the 2019 pilgrimage, and he hopes the number of participants increases this Saturday.

Walkers are asked to wear walking shoes and modest attire (no shorts, tank tops or sleeveless tops), and to bring a rosary and flower for Mary. Families, baby strollers and religious banners are welcome.

Bread, water and police escort will be provided, as well as a fried fish snack by Bridge City St. Henry Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council.

The path does include plenty of bathroom stops and a 15-passenger van. Participants can also drive their vehicles in the rear of the walkers.

“By the end, when we reach our final destination here at the Queen of Peace Shrine, this here is the symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem, which we’re here on this earth trying to get to,” Tolin said.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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