On Saturday, May 21st our journey from the Shrine of Christ the King starts with prayer and camaraderie on a bus in the early hours of the morning. We will pray, talk, laugh and sing as we make our way to Holy Hill and the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. It is a pilgrimage my family and I take every year for many reasons.

First of all, it is enjoyable and edifying to reconnect with members of the Institute family from around the Midwest. This family spirit is evident everywhere, beginning in the parking lot where we meet for the procession. We come together, young and old, spry and feeble, to pray the rosary and sing hymns as we follow our altar boys, our Canons and Our Lady up the hill to this Wisconsin Shrine of Our Lady. All of the Midwest apostolates are handsomely represented by the nearly 40 altar servers who process down the aisle at the start of the Solemn High Mass offered by the Provincial, Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico. He is flanked by Canons from 5 different Apostolates. After Mass many pilgrims make a visit to the chapel of Mary Help of Christians and then everyone meets for a picnic lunch. It is extremely pleasant for us to reconnect with old friends as well as to make new ones. Although we live far apart, we find that we have much in common. Some people we will only see once a year at Holy Hill while some we will see at other Institute gatherings such as the Society of the Sacred Heart retreat, boys and girls camps or the annual Sursum Corda retreat. It is a reminder that, as part of the Institute of Christ the King, we are all part of a large spiritual family.

The final liturgical function of the day is Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the beautiful St. Therese Chapel. Canon Jayr serving in Milwaukee was the celebrant. During Benediction we renew our consecration to the Blessed Mother. It is a fitting end to such a wonderful day--to spend a few minutes thanking Our Lord for all He has given to us individually and to the Institute as a whole and asking our Lady to keep us under her maternal protection.

We say our final goodbyes before once again boarding the bus for our trip home. As we do so we are once again edified by good friendships and assured prayers. We join this pilgrimage every year to make our petitions and to offer our thanksgiving and every year we are granted graces and blessings that far exceed anything we can offer, reminding us once again of the generosity of our loving God. Please join us next year!

– N.R., mother of 8