The Society of Our Lady of Divine Mercy is sponsoring its fifth bus pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Mass., from Oct. 4-6 for St. Faustina Day. The purpose of this pilgrimage is to spread the Divine Mercy Devotion and to engage pilgrims in performing works of mercy and richly living out their faith.
The shrine grounds are located on Eden Hill in the Berkshire Mountains. The fall foliage attracts many visitors, and the park-like setting provides for an atmosphere of prayer. The Stations of the Cross are more than life-size, and the figures of Jesus and Mary have unforgettable facial expressions. There is an outdoor shrine where Mass is celebrated, a beautiful church dedicated to the Divine Mercy with a relic of St. Faustina and other saints, a Lourdes grotto, and many smaller shrines and statues.
The shrine has a rich history, started by Marians of the Immaculate Conception, the "Apostles of Divine Mercy," who erected the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy. They opened it in 1960 so that people all over the world would be able to learn about the Divine Mercy devotion, receive the Sacraments and have a retreat.
"Pope Benedict XVI has told us the Divine Mercy devotion is not a secondary devotion, and that it is the core of the Gospel and the core of the Paschal Mystery. It is not too early to sign up for this pilgrimage so to be dedicated to the Holy Catholic Church to spread God's mercy to our neighbor and to the world. When we were baptized, we were called to this mission," said Donna Marie Chmiel, a society member.
The schedule includes talks about Divine Mercy at 11 a.m.; the Rosary for Life, confessions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 1 p.m.; Mass at 2 p.m.; and recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and benediction at 3 p.m.
There is a store on the grounds, and articles will be blessed at the outdoor shrine after the chaplet is prayed. Pilgrims are required to provide their own lunch, as there is no cafeteria at the shrine. All other meals will be provided off the shrine grounds.
Pilgrims will be given an itinerary to follow. Hotels, meals and the cost of the bus is included when pilgrims participate in fundraisers and/or donations.
Fundraisers will include baked goods sales on March 11 and 12 at St. Timothy Church in Tonawanda, and March 18 and 19 at St. Michael Church in downtown Buffalo.
Divine Mercy concerts will take place at 7 p.m., March 31, at St. Bernadette's in Orchard Park, and 7 p.m., April 28, at Blessed Sacrament in Tonawanda.
A silent auction with basket raffles and door prizes will be at a "Build a Burger" luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 8, at Cala's Kitchen in Derby. Pre-ticket sales will be held, at a cost of $15, and tickets will also be available at the door.
For further information about the pilgrimage, call Chmiel at 716-627-4187.