Mark Oct. 15 on your calendar. In decades-old Philadelphia tradition, pilgrims from the Archdiocese once again will  board buses for the annual (sometimes biannual) trip to Washington, D.C. and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — “America’s Church.”

Most recent years it has been held in April; this year’s pilgrimage on Saturday, Oct. 15 is being held on one of the two months of the year especially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and of course it will be the first to be led by Philadelphia’s new Archbishop, Charles Chaput.

The theme of the pilgrimage is taken from a quote from Blessed John Paul II; “Through Mary we come to her Son more easily.”
The official schedule starts at noon with a welcome, followed by an invitation to the sacrament of penance led by Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre. Following this Archbishop Chaput and the priests in attendance on the pilgrimage will hear confessions.
“This pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady is a particular moment for us to implore her intercession for the priests and people of the Archdiocese,” said Father G. Dennis Gill, director of the archdiocesan Office for Worship. “The day emphasizes the sacrament of penance and is also an opportunity for the people to come and pray.”
There will be tours of the Basilica, which is the largest Catholic church in America, and of its many beautiful national chapels, presenting Mary as seen through the eyes of people from around the world.
The high points of the pilgrimage will be the 2 p.m. procession followed by the traditional crowning of a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and the 3 p.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop Chaput with priests on the pilgrimage as concelebrants.
Throughout the day music will be provided by the Archdiocesan Choir, the group that performed so beautifully at the installation Mass of Archbishop Chaput, and the Archdiocesan Boy Choir.
The Basilica also has an excellent cafeteria and two religious goods stores.
Contact your parish for bus information.