The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Attaching to Mary: The Gesture of Pilgrimage

Authored by Brad Bursa in Issue #10.2 of Catechetical Review

I come here often. Sometimes I come in gratitude. Other times I come here to beg. I come alone. I come with my wife and our kids.

Growing up, it took thirty minutes to get here. Back country roads. Flat. Everything level and straight. Fields speckled with the occasional woods, a barn, a farmhouse. It was practically in my backyard. But then I moved. Now, it takes about three hours. I drive up the long interstate to those familiar country roads that lead into the village.

The sleepy, two-stoplight town is something of a time warp. Life just moves slower in Carey, Ohio. The rural way of life is simpler than the suburban variety.

I stay for hours, or for twenty minutes. Being here is all that matters.

Yes, I come here often. It’s in my blood.

I am a pilgrim.


Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation

In June of 1873, Fr. Joseph Peter Gloden was entrusted with the mission in Carey, Ohio: thirteen families and an unfinished church building. The people were discouraged. But Fr. Gloden rallied the small band of Catholics, and the nascent congregation finished the construction of the church. It was given the title Our Lady of Consolation, for, as Gloden said, “We are not yet at the end of our difficulties and we need a good, loving and powerful comforter.”[1]

After the church was dedicated, Gloden, originally from Remerschen, Luxembourg, sought to obtain a copy of the statue of Luxembourg’s Our Lady of Consolation. The statue was made of oak and adorned with a fabric dress. The replica of the statue from the Cathedral of Luxembourg arrived in Carey in March 1875. To give Our Lady’s statue a most solemn entrance into her new home, Fr. Gloden and his parishioners decided on a seven-mile procession to the church in Carey from the nearby parish in Frenchtown, Ohio.

The big event was to take place on May 24, 1875. The day before, a heavy storm swept through the area. On the morning of the proposed procession, another storm threatened. Lightning could be seen across the horizon. Gloden urged the crowd not to scatter, calling out, “Let the procession proceed; there is no danger.”[2] And so they charged into a thunderstorm. The rest is history. Rain poured all around the procession, but nobody in the procession got wet. Once the statue reached the church and was safely inside, the rain pelted the earth.[3] From the beginning, the whole thing was viewed as a miraculous event—a light prelude to events that would happen in Fatima some decades later. On that day in rural Ohio, Mary protected her beloved little ones from the elements.

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]

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