Catholic Journey of Hope Pilgrimage in Wisconsin

by Sister Julie Ann on September 10, 2008

Having encountered God, pilgrims ponder what God is speaking to them after an Immigration Awareness Pilgrimage, A Journey of Hope on September 7, 2008. You are invited to do likewise.

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey, the Diocese of Green Bay, and the Franciscan Friars (OFM) of the Assumption BVM Province collaborated to make this day possible. Members of St. Philip, St. Willebrord, St. Mary of the Angels and St. Francis Xavier Cathedral parishes of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI were also involved in the planning.

What longings, desires, fears and questions surfaced as you listened deeply and pondered prayerfully this day of pilgrimage? How might this pilgrimage influence your/our activities and involvements in the future? Is there any special memory that lingers in your heart?

15 thoughts on “Catholic Journey of Hope Pilgrimage in Wisconsin”

  1. My hope for this pilgrimage was for it to be an opportunity for us to “remember” the roots of our families and to “welcome” those who are immigrants today!

    My parents were immigrants from the Netherlands in the 1950’s they, like immigrants today and in the past came to the U.S. with HOPE for a new beginning to realize their dreams for a good life for themselves and their family.

    My dad’s name is inscribed in the memory wall at Ellis Island.Upon visiting there I came to realize our open immigration policy was one of the best things about our country, we have been a place of welcome to the stranger, giving hope to those in need.

    My great concern of today is that this has not been the atmosphere of our time. Immigrants and refugees are looked upon with suspicion and fear. The lack of just laws perpetuates the mistrust and terrible treatment of so many.

    Experiencing the pilgrimage with over 300 people who sang, prayed, walked, danced, and enjoyed spending the entire afternoon together is a sign of real HOPE for our Church and our country! I feel energized and filled with gratitude!

  2. Br. Steve Herro says:

    The video was a great representation of the day. I was proud to have been a part of the event. The pilgrimage was the greatest example of collaboration in a justice and peace event between diocesan staff and our religious orders that I have ever seen. Kudos also for the youth and young adult involvement in the planning and event.

  3. Sr. Pat Sevcik says:

    The Immigration Pilgrimage was a wonderful opportunity to stand for and with people who come to our country, as did our ancestors, seeking jobs, homes and a meaningful life. I appreciated the experience of prayer and hearing the Hail Mary prayed in 10 different languages. This reinforced the reality of the many cultures and backgrounds of people who make up the USA. The conclusion with Mass, celebrated by Bishop Ricken, was a fitting and joyous celebration of our faith! Thank you Sisters Mary Ann, Julie Ann and all who worked so hard to organize this Pilgrimage!

  4. Sister Pat, I, too, was moved by the recitation of the rosary. Each language resonated a beauty ever ancient, ever new.

    Today my fingers stumbled on this great quote from the book entitled ‘Pilgrimage: Exploring a Great Spiritual Practice’. Edward Sellner says,“Pilgrimages change us, touch us at the core; we are not the same when we return to our ordinary lives and daily living. This experience of transformation can happen whether we go halfway around the world or down the block to a local, perhaps somewhat neglected shrine; whether we travel to foreign lands or out into cemeteries where our loved ones rest from their labors.”

    For me, personally, this pilgrimage footage captures well a ‘down the block’ felt transformation of being united with brothers and sisters in Christ. Challenged to live a Gospel of Hope (Mt. 25:35-40), we were called to expand our awareness and concerns beyond our own families and friends to people perhaps unknown or different from ourselves. Foundational Catholic Social Teaching begins here.

    The exuberance of pilgrims of all ages, the multi-cultural contributions of talented musicians and the fact that our new Bishop of Green Bay, Bishop Ricken, was providentially present to celebrate Eucharist at the end of the journey are lingering memories.

  5. Sister Marlita Henseler says:

    I am still resting in and enjoying the success of last Sunday’s Immigration Pilgrimage, and feel so satisfied with the turnout and participation from all over the Green Bay Diocese. It was great to be a part of it. I pray that those who joined in now touch others positively with the welcoming attitude to all who seek home and work in our country. It has enriched us so much at out country’s beginnings, and can do so again as we continue to be open to others, practicing the words of Jesus to WELCOME THE STRANGER AMONG US!

  6. Since I was not able to attend the pilgrimage, I am especially grateful for this video. Just by viewing it, I could feel “a part” of the energy, prayer and hope. Thank you for the video, thank you for living the Gospel in real, concrete and public ways.

  7. I shared this podcast with a priest friend who teaches a rural ministry course to seminarians at Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago Archdiocese. He plans to use it in the course to emphasize the immigration issue and to focus on what is happening in our community and our diocese.
    I will teach a session with him in October focusing on Franciscan Spirituality and stewardship of the land.
    St. Francis is permeating this 10 week course, I think!

  8. Thanks for sharing this news S. Anne Marie! It is so important for all of us to become part of the outreach to immigrants at this time! I am excited at the strong direction our Church is taking in so many forms; that this pilgrimage is able to contribute in surprise ways is a great sign of HOPE!

  9. Sister June says:

    The Pilgrimage was well-organized to make us aware of the struggles of those who have immigrated to our country. It was prayer-filled and a happy event with different kinds of Music. I greatly appreciated the bag-piper who played as we walked to the Cathedral.
    God bless Bishop Ricken for his participation, organizers and supporters of the event.

  10. Sister Sean Marie says:

    What a joyous experience this pilgrimage held for so many people. Language, culture, weather, ability to walk or not walk presented no barrier. Instead music, prayer, acceptance,and joyful friendliness bonded the whole group. From our beginning we have been a country of immigrants. We have only to drive Wisconsin’t Ethnic Trail to learn of the many cultures who struggled to grow into Americans. To learn a new culture and language is not easy. It takes alot of patience, deep faith, and persistent prayer. Right now our country needs alot of reminders of our beginnings, compassion for recent immigrants, and a just regulations for fixing our immigration policies. Let us remember the pilgrimage, continue to pray and support efforts for a just immigration solution as it comes up in Congress. Sing out the universal message that we are all strangers and pilgrims in this world.

  11. Sister Lorita Gaffney says:

    This was a great experience of solidarity with immigrants today and a great reminder of the heritage we inherited when our own relatives immigrated to this country. I am a first generation immigrant myself, my father coming from England when still a child. This experience reminds me of how important it is to be respectful and welcoming to all who come seeking home and community


    This article is a must read for those who desire to understand why the U.S. Bishops call for an end to immigration raids. “As families are destroyed, so are their communities.”

  13. Brother Michael Kadow says:

    I was very impressed to hear of the pilgrimage and the increased efforts of various religious communities and their friends to raise awareness and solidarity with our immigrant friends. Working with immigrant families for the past six years in Racine, I have seen first hand the struggles and tremendous contributions that these families are experiencing. I have also seen the fear and mistrust that they have for recrimination of the government! Far from using any “system” in our society, they have assisted our system of justice by their hard work! They give much more to our nation than they “take”! I look forward to the day when our nation faces the immigration issue with open eyes and hearts! It can be a win/win for all if we simply set aside the prejudice and the desire to “cling to our own”!

    Brother Michael Kadow, FSC
    San Juan Diego Middle School
    Racine, WI

  14. Brother Michael, we are grateful for your ministry at San Juan Diego Middle School and the rich heritage that you stirred to a flame at Roncalli. The Christian Brothers were present in the students that joined us in pilgrimage. Peace and all good.

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