Coast to Coast

Midland, Ontario
Pilgrimage to the Martyrs Shrine - September 25, 2004

Saturday September 25 marked the annual pilgrimage of the Canadian District of the Society of St. Pius X to the Martyrs Shrine in Midland, Ontario, around 100 miles north of Toronto. This Pilgrimage began with over 10 years ago, headed by the District Superior of that time, Fr. Jacques Emily. As with all pilgrimages, it has been performed in the spirit of penance and reparation. The special intentions for the year 2004 was for the Society of St. Pius X, especially the District of Canada, and for vocations. The pilgrimage has been performed on the last Saturday in September, as that is the Saturday which usually falls the closest to the feast of the Canadian Martyrs (actual date their feast is Sept. 26). This pilgrimage has always been started by the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at a field about 6 miles from Midland, called St. Ignace II, where Saints Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lallemant were Martyred. A walk to the Martyrs Shrine followed. It is here that large relics of these saints in ornate reliquaries rest, along with the major relics of St. Charles Garnier. The pilgrimage would then conclude with the Stations of the Cross at the large outdoor Stations of the Cross.

The highlight of the 2004 pilgrimage was that Fr. Yves LeRoux and Fr. James Doran came from St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary with 36 Seminarians and 2 brothers. In addition, a record number of faithful attended, which brought the attendance of this year's pilgrimage to around 300.

This Pilgrimage has been received by the Jesuit Fathers who operate the Martyrs Shrine with mixed reactions. Mass has always been offered at St. Ignace II. In 2003, the Society of St. Pius X offered Mass at St. Ignace II and then concluded the pilgrimage with Mass on the Shrine grounds. In 2004, the Society was forbidden to offer Mass at either location. Providentially, there was a campground immediately next to St. Ignace II which belonged to the United Church Centre, who welcomed the SSPX, so Mass was offered in a field next to St. Ignace II. Fr. Stephen Somerville was the celebrant for the Solemn High Mass.

We pray to these martyrs, Saints Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, Gabriel Lallemant, Rene Goupil, Jean de la Lande, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, and Noel Chabanel, and ask them to intercede for us, for the Society of St. Pius X, especially for the District of Canada and for vocations.

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