A new feast was inserted into the Universal Calendar for the Latin Church last year by Pope Francis, in a decree dated February 11, 2018 – the 160th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes. Previously, permission to celebrate a feast of Mary had been extended to Poland and Argentina, as well as St Peter’s Basilica, and several Religious Orders and Congregations.

The title of “Mother of the Church” was famously bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary by Blessed Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council. The understanding of Mary’s motherhood has developed in the decades following Vatican II, especially as the Church has reflected on the Council’s teaching about Mary in chapter 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium).

The Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church is celebrated on the Monday following Pentecost, highlighting the fact that the Mother of God was praying alongside her spiritual sons, the Twelve Apostles, at the moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost. Mary, by virtue of being the mother of Jesus Christ, has always been recognized as the Mother of the Church, which Jesus established during His Passion. Before He expired on the Cross, Jesus gave His final instructions to Mary and John, elevating the nature of their relationship within the Kingdom of God. He said to Mary, “Woman, behold thy son,” and to St. John the Beloved (who mystically represents all His disciples), “Behold thy mother.”

During our pilgrimages, which is always a search for the face of Christ, for Christ himself, we reflect continually on the meaning of our lives, and of what it means to be a pilgrim in this world.  As we search, we encounter many that point the way to Him–the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Saints and many “living stones” of faith–especially Mary, His mother and our mother.  Everywhere we pilgrimage, you will find a deep devotion to Mary and she is at the heart of many of our pilgrimages.

Next year we travel to England and join in the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary. Our “Women Saints Through the Centuries” pilgrimage this October includes stops at two sites of Marian apparitions:  at the Grotto of Our Lady of Revelations and at the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte which has a very special side chapel where Our Lady appeared there to Alphonse Ratisbonne, an avowed anti-Catholic Jew, in 1842, manifesting herself exactly as she appears on the Miraculous Medal, effecting his miraculous conversion and was the impetus that brought the Miraculous Medal devotion to Italy.  This pilgrimage also includes visits to churches and shrines to venerate icons and images (two purportedly painted by St. Luke) of Our Lady that have a long history of healings and miracles associated with them.

Follow this LINK to our Home Page to view the different pilgrimages currently being offered or this LINK to view the Women Saints Through the Centuries pilgrimage for October 2019.  There are several new ones in development including:

  • Classic Peru: St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres, the beauties of the Andes and the culinary delights of Peru.
  • Classic Egypt: Follow Mary and Joseph’s flight from Bethlehem to Egypt. Pray at the apparition site of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, seen by 500,000 people. Meet the Coptic Patriarch.