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Pilgrimage of the North American Delegation to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York, September, 2004

posted Feb 27, 2012, 8:53 PM by dom. Noah Moerbeek CPMO
Pilgrimage of the North American Delegation  to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York, September, 2004.

By Dom. Andrea Cappelli, Chancellor  

From the 14th to the 23rd of September, 2004, the Chancellor, Dom. Andrea Cappelli, and the Vicar of the Head Preceptory, Bro. Paolo Gori, went to the United States of America to visit the Magistral Delegation for North America and to participate in its pilgrimage for the consecration of the Delegation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Militia.  

Upon arriving in New York, on the evening of Tuesday, the 14th , the two Knights were welcomed by Bro. Rodger Phillips, Vice Delegate, and traveled with him to Waterbury, (Connecticut) where they were the guests of Mr. Matthew Salyer, Novice of the Militia, and his wife, Madeline.  

After recovering from "jet lag," we took advantage of the surroundings of the "Big Apple" on a short one hour tour by train. On Friday, the 17th , dom. Andrea and bro. Paolo, together with bro. Rodger and his family and Matthew and his wife, we left for Auriesville-Johnstown, in the western part of New York State. Upon arriving in the small village, the two Knights of the Magistral See were welcomed by Bro. Charles, Magistral Delegate for the United States and North America and by his wife, Mary Claire, who had arrived in the meantime from Richmond, VA. Also in the evening other novices and postulants arrived with their families to take part in the pilgrimage. The pilgrimage began with participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, according to the ancient rite which was celebrated in the neighboring community of Fonda in the outside chapel of the shrine dedicated to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a young martyr of a Native American tribe, called the Mohicans. Moving was the example of so many faithful of all ages, who, in spite of a torrential downpour which flooded half of the chapel, assisted at Mass with devotion and piety. This important place of prayer included a Way of the Cross which encompassed an entire hill and culminated in a large representation of Calvary.

Bros. Charles, Rodger, Paolo & Dom Andrea

In the evening at the hotel, dinner gave everyone the chance to talk and to become better acquainted with each other, in a climate of brotherhood, appropriate experiences and a pathway founded on the Rule. The presence of children contributed to making the atmosphere even more joyful.  

Saturday was devoted entirely to the pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs. The walk was about seven miles. By now, this pilgrimage has occurred for nine years and is offered for the restoration of the Sacred Tradition in the entire Catholic Family and for the preservation of the liturgical and spiritual patrimony of the ancient Roman rite in the Church. Many Catholics faithful to Tradition in the United States and Canada participate with deep feeling in this event. To this general intention is joined also another wish, that of the restoration of the true devotion to Mary: indeed the total consecration to Jesus through His Most Blessed Mother. During the walk, the Knights and their families offered their prayers and their fatigue also for the healthy development of the Order in the United States and for its apostolate, so that, by the example of the martyrs, Christian nations will submit themselves to the rule of Christ the King.  

The pilgrimage departed from the Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha at Fonda, where the approximately 700 pilgrims were divided into various groups each of which carried the name of a saint on a banner and was made up of about a dozen people. During the journey, the Knights managed the fatigue of the trip by singing traditional sacred songs and by reciting the Holy Rosary, while a few priests heard confessions. After more than 5 hours, the pilgrims finally arrived at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs, dedicated to Saint Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil, and John de la Lande who were martyred around 1642 by members of the Huron tribe on the site of the Mohican village called Ossernenon of the Iroquois nation, to which Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha also belonged.  

In spite of the Militia's participation in the pilgrimage for the first time, by a happy coincidence, behind which we can see the paternal hand of the Good God, the arrival of our Knights was greeted by the chant "Non Nobis" sung by the other pilgrims. In the middle of a vast, wooded terrain with numerous chapels and small votive tabernacles, arises the main building, called the "Coliseum" church in the center of which is located a large altar created in the Native American style of architecture. At this place a Solemn High Mass was celebrated to the accompaniment of a chorus whose members themselves had also participated in the pilgrimage. 

After the solemn liturgical function, the Knights went in procession to the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, kneeling on the first step, recited all together the Act of Consecration of the Delegation to Mary Queen of the Militia. The event ended in a few moments of silence in order to gain the partial indulgence that our Archbishop, Mons. Antonio Buoncristiani, Ordinary of the Militia, had granted. The brief ceremony concluded with the singing of the hymn "Salve Regina" and a blessing from a priest, Fr. Neal Nichols, who also participated in the pilgrimage.  

In the late afternoon, the Knights and their families returned to Johnstown for a "typically American" dinner that was most welcome to all the very hungry pilgrims at the end of the pilgrimage. After dinner, Dom. Andrea and Bro. Paolo, together with the Magistral Delegate, Bro. Charles and Bro. Rodger held a meeting with the American novices to verify the progress of each novice in his journey to knighthood and his personal compliance to the Rule. After the novices had been dismissed, the Knights continued to talk about the current status of the delegation and, above all, about its future. Presently, besides Charles and Rodger, the delegation, competent also for the anglophone population of Canada, is composed of six novices and seven postulants, among whom are a group of three brothers from Columbus, Ohio, who with a neighborhood friend have already begun to meet regularly to recite Vespers with the traditional breviary. Naturally, the distances between the novices hinder communication and fellowship a lot; in fact the novices and postulants are spread between the states of Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio, California, Texas and the province of Ontario in Canada. Our Knights, however, are prepared to endure the hardships of long trips in order to be able to contribute to the growth of the community and indeed to the apostolate striving for the establishment of the Kingdom of Our Lord in souls and in society.  

Pilgrims entering the Colliseum Church for Holy Mass

Sunday morning, after assisting at Holy Mass in the traditional rite, in one of the chapels of the Auriesville Shrine, dedicated to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the pilgrimage definitively came to an end and the various participants were dismissed to return to their own homes. Thanks to the generous availability of Mr. Michael S. Price, Novice of the Order, and his wife Cynthia, Dom. Andrea and Bro. Paolo arrived in Albany (the capital of New York State) where they left by bus for Canada, destination Montreal, Quebec where they arrived late in the evening.  

Monday morning, September 20, Dom. Andrea and Bro. Paolo visited His Eminence Cardinal Edouard Gagnon P.S.S., Patron of the Militia Templi, at his residence in the Seminary of Saint Sulpice that adjoins the Basilica of Our Lady of Montreal.  

The meeting with His Eminence lasted the entire morning. The truly paternal demeanor of the Cardinal and his interest in the progress of our apostolate in the North American continent gave us much encouragement. The Cardinal in fact wanted to be informed of the progress of the Delegation, and remembered with nostalgia his last visit to the Magione. He asked his two guests to transmit to the Grand Master his affectionate greeting together with his desire to be able to meet him once again for sure in Montreal now that the condition of the Cardinal's health no longer permits him to travel. After lunch in the seminary, His Eminence requested one of his fellow brothers to accompany Dom. Andrea and Bro. Paolo on a visit to Seminary building, the oldest building in Montreal and to the Basilica, where the wonderful main altar stands out among so many fine examples of faith and artistic talent. Represented in bas relief are all the sacrifices of the Old Testament which are highlighted by the Most Holy Sacrifice of the New Covenant which is the Mass. 

Act of Consecration of the Delegation to Mary Queen of the Militia

The afternoon continued with a visit by car to the city itself thanks to the exquisite hospitality of Mons. Georges Farrese, "Ikonomos" of the Greek Catholic Melchite Patriarchate of Canada and Chaplain of the Militia, and of His Excellency Jean-Guy Houde, Governor of the Patriarchal Order of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem who has been decorated by the Militia. Among the various monuments of the Franco-Canadian city, of particular importance is the National Shrine of Saint Joseph, Patron of Canada which dominates the entire city from the top of a hill. Among the various things that strike the visitor in this splendid church the first is without doubt its dimension. In fact, it is a question of the largest shrine in the world, dedicated to Saint Joseph. It was built by an impoverished lay brother, Blessed Andre Bassette of Montreal, who throughout his life was the "concierge" for the conventual community of the Congregation of the Holy Cross to which he belonged. Monday evening ended with an excellent dinner offered by His Eminence in a pleasant Italian restaurant along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.

Tuesday, September 21, Dom. Andrea and Bro. Paolo had to travel again in order to face the nine hours in a bus that separate Montreal from Hartford where Bro. Rodger was awaiting them. The trip was certainly tiring but provided the opportunity to accomplish an interesting journey through the impressive countryside of the Canadian province of Quebec and then of the American states of New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  

The next day, Wednesday, September 22, after taking leave of our hosts, Matthew and Madeline Salyer, the train took our two fellow knights to New York, where from the J.F.K. International Airport, the plane brought them home the following day! 

Knights, Novices and their families at the end of the pilgrimage.