|Thanks to the friends of Our Lady, Father Gruner was able to travel to the West in this new van, and soon he will be going to the Maritime provinces.|
Many things have happened since we last reported on the visits of the National Pilgrim Virgin of Canada. In September the National Pilgrim visited parishes in the Archdiocese of Ottawa and also made a visit to Mayo, Quebec. At the end of September visits were arranged for the Hamilton Diocese. The Hamilton schedule was interrupted for a few days while the Pilgrim Virgin visited the Cathedral in Kingston. The Diocese of Peterborough was visited in November. After a brief stop in Ottawa to pick up supplies and a new van, the National Pilgrim made a trip West to visit parishes in Saskatchewan in late November and December.
On the anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Nativity, the Pilgrim Virgin was at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Ottawa. There she was received by the parishioners in a two-day stay, during which many people were enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Father Peter Cody, pastor of St. Jude’s in Hawkesbury, arranged a Triduum in honor of Our Lady of Fatima and invited the National Pilgrim for the activities from Monday Sept. 17 to Wednesday the 19th. For the first day of the Triduum, Father Cody arranged for a procession in honor of Our Lady of Fatima through the streets of Hawkesbury. The procession lasted about an hour and it was a beautiful way to start the Triduum. Father Gruner spoke on the various events of Fatima. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Rosaries, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a Vigil were all planned to honor God and His Mother at the time of the Pilgrim Virgin visit.
Father brought the National Pilgrim to Mayo, Quebec on September 20, 1979. Here the parishioners had arranged for Holy Mass followed by the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and an all-night vigil, closing with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass next morning. It was here, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Quebec, that our National Pilgrim Virgin Statue, blessed by Pope Paul VI, was crowned for the first time in Canada by Bishop Windle. This was on May 13, 1971, the same day that 69 other National Pilgrim Virgin Statues from other countries around the world were crowned.
Father Minvielle, the pastor of St. Catherine of Siena, wanted the Pilgrim Virgin to visit his parish in Metcalfe, Ontario for Sept. 22 and 23. The school was also visited and as a result both adults and children were happy to be able to hear the Message of Our Lady of Fatima.
The first church visited in the Diocese of Hamilton was Sacred Heart Church in Walkerton, Sept. 28 and 29. The people received the Pilgrim Virgin visit with devotion and interest. Many leaflets about the Message of Fatima were distributed to the people who came to the church to honor Our Lady. The people asked Father Gruner to return to the parish so the students could learn about Our Lady of Fatima. Father returned the following Monday and after speaking to the students many of them were enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
On September 30, the last Sunday of the month, the National Pilgrim arrived at St. Gregory’s parish in Cambridge. Father Gruner spoke at length about Our Lady of Fatima. Father Grace, the pastor, in speaking to Father later on, said that he was edified by his parishioners’ attention and genuine interest in the Message and events of Fatima. Many people were enrolled in the Scapular after Mass.
On October 2 the English-speaking parishioners of St. James parish in Oakville gave an enthusiastic welcome to the National Pilgrim Virgin. Father Solcia had arranged for the school children to come to the church and they came in full force. The whole student body visited the church that day and many of them were enrolled in the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The adults came to the church for evening devotions.
At St. Clement’s, Ont., the Statue went first of all to the teaching Sisters’ convent. From the convent chapel the Pilgrim Virgin was brought in procession to the church by the students. There, the students placed the National Pilgrim on a beautifully decorated dais. Much time was reserved so that the youth could hear the Message of Fatima. Most of the students had already been enrolled in the Scapular by their pastor, but many of them wanted and received new ones. Father Ryan and the school Principal were most co-operative and helpful in making the visit of the youth a great success.
Father Ryan also organized a most successful evening for his parishioners. He had prepared them well for Our Lady’s visit for they came in large numbers.
Father H. Roach of St. Charles Garnier Parish in Hamilton also arranged for the children to see the National Pilgrim. On October 4, the children came to the church class by class to pray and honor Our Blessed Lady. They were enrolled in the Scapular after prayers and a short talk. Later on in the evening Father Gruner spoke to a large group of the adult parishioners.
On hearing about the visit of the National Pilgrim Virgin to the Hamilton diocese, Father Duffy arranged for a three-day visit in his parish. He was pleased to have the Statue present on the First Friday and the First Saturday of the month. On the first day of the visit the National Pilgrim was brought to the school. The teachers and students were impressed by the life-like beauty of our Pilgrim Virgin Statue. In the morning there was a procession to the church, followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and a talk on the Message of Fatima. In the afternoon the students came to hear more about Our Lady of Fatima and to be enrolled in the Scapular. Father Duffy and his parishioners are to be especially thanked for their enthusiasm and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
In the afternoon of October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, the National Pilgrim Statue was invited to St. Basil’s Parish in Brantford. The devotions started with an outdoor procession. The people prayed the Rosary as they carried our specially blessed Statue around the church. Father Scoles arranged it so that shortly after the procession entered the church those present who so desired were enrolled in the Scapular. There was then Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction. On Monday evening special devotions were held for Our Lady of Fatima at the parish Mass.
The Carmelite Sisters in St. Agatha’s had the honor of having the Pilgrim Virgin in the morning of the 8th of October. At the convent the Sisters had arranged for an hour of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction afterwards. Father gave a talk about Our Lady of Fatima to all who had attended the service, putting special emphasis on the Scapular of Carmel and how Our Lady of Fatima promoted it. The Sisters asked for and received, the Pilgrim Virgin inside the enclosure before departure.
Unfortunately, time and space do not permit us to give a full report on the rest of the Pilgrim Virgin’s travels in this issue. We hope in the next issue to continue the report about the visits to Hamilton and Kingston, the Diocese of Peterborough and the various churches in Saskatchewan.