Photo: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

In celebration of the Year of Faith, the Diocese of Rockville Centre will host a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., on Saturday, September 28. The pilgrimage will be a day-long journey of faith to honor Mary, to seek her help and protection and to ask God to shower upon us His spirit for our earthly life here on Long Island.

All Catholics across the Diocese are invited to join Bishop William Murphy and his brother bishops for an experience filled with opportunities for prayer, reflection, reconciliation and fellowship. This pilgrimage is a unique opportunity for fostering faith, conversion and reconciliation. The talented voices of the Diocesan Choir will provide the music for the liturgies.

The pilgrimage will include praying the Angelus at Noon in the Upper Church; a presentation by John Garvey, president of Catholic University of America; tours, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; Sacrament of Reconciliation; Rosary in Word and Song; and celebration of the Eucharist for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Buses will then depart for Long Island at 5:30 p.m.

For the Christian, pilgrimage is a way of life. Our life on earth is a continuing journey towards complete union with God in the kingdom. From earliest times, Christians have journeyed to defined spaces and places to practice pilgrimage as a spiritual exercise for growth in faith. Pilgrimage is a transforming practice which opens us to the gift of the indulgence for ourselves and for others. It gives renewed meaning to the rites and rituals which are gifts of our faith and which serve to deepen our connection to God through Christ and one another.

Through prayer, personal sacrifice, reflection and service, the pilgrim embarks on his or her spiritual quest. Celebrating sacramental reconciliation and participating in the Eucharist are integral to the pilgrim’s journey. Also, acts of charity and penance are performed to express the true conversion of heart brought about by communion with Christ.

Pilgrimage calls for actions which express in a practical and generous way the penitential spirit which the heart of jubilee. Such actions might include fasting, abstaining from smoking or alcohol, donating time and or money to benefit abandoned children, youth in trouble, lonely elderly people or other similar forms of personal sacrifice.

Many parishes will charter bus transportation. For more information contact your parish coordinator or Suzanne Lynn of the Office of Worship at 516-678-5800, ext. 207 or