As I am driving down to Washington for tomorrow’s diocesan pilgrimage to the National Shrine, my brother priests and I will concelebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Msgr. Bob Morrissey and I just finished praying the rosary. Uppermost in my thought and prayer are the almost 3,000 pilgrims coming in more than 55 buses from our Diocese. Msgr. Morrissey and I prayed the rosary especially for the safety of all the pilgrims. I look forward to greeting them tomorrow as they arrive at the Shrine which is truly Mary s house for the Catholic Church in our nation.

Tomorrow we will begin with praying the angelus at noon. I have asked the President of Catholic University, John Garvey, to offer a short reflection on the spirituality of the lay Catholic in the world. Then we will have lunch and time to visit the many shrines to Our Lady. Confession is available for one and all thanks to more than 35 priests from our parishes who are taking part in the pilgrimage. Bishop Brennan will host a youth gathering and Bishop Perez will lead us in the rosary. We will bring our day to a conclusion with Mass that my brother priests and I will concelebrate with all the pilgrims in the great Upper Basilica of the Shrine.

All of you who cannot be with us can join us in spirit. I can assure you that all the members of our beloved Church on Long Island will be in my prayer intentions both to the Lord and to His Blessed Mother.
Telecare will be with us. I hope as many of you as can will join us in prayer in this special moment for our Diocese in this Year of Faith.