Vincentian Youth Pilgrimage to the Miraculous Medal Shrine

On Saturday, September 11, at 4:00am, 70 young men and women, ages 15 t0 25, gathered together at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary parish in Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY, and boarded buses headed for the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia.

Lead by Fr. Luis Romero, CM, Vocation Director for the Eastern Province Vincentians, this pilgrimage was part of Pastoral Vocacional Vicentina, or Vincentian Vocation Ministry with the laity. This program trains young people to be ‘vocation animators’ that foster the call to the priesthood and religious life in their own parishes and communities. Their trip to the Miraculous Medal Shrine was another effort to expose the pilgrims to Vincentian spirituality expressed through Our Lady and devotion to the Miraculous Medal.

Fr. Stephen Grozio, CM, Provincial of the Eastern Province, was able to accompany the young people on their pilgrimage. He recalled of that day:

After a brief tour of the upper Shrine, the group moved to the lower level where “St. Catherine Laboure” [actress portraying the Saint] recounted the story of Mary’s apparitions to her. The young people were focused and attentive, as they listened to her every word. The group then moved outside to the grove for prayer and reflection led by Fr. Luis and the lay leaders. The main focus of the day was God’s call and our response.

Because the Shrine was very busy that day with First Communions (from St. Vincent’s Parish) in the late morning and the Mass and celebration for the Feast of Our Lady of Vailankanni in the late afternoon, the pilgrims from Long Island moved to the CAMM [Central Association of the Miraculous Medal] building across the street to celebrate the Liturgy. Our seminarians from the Miraculous Medal House had travelled with the group and provided the music. It was heartwarming to see that almost everyone received Communion.

After viewing the museum outside of the CAMM chapel, the pilgrims walked down to the hall on the ground floor for lunch, where they were joined by the seminarians from DeAndreis House, who brought pizza and led the group in some games and activities.

Fr. Luis noted that a few of the young people are ‘inquirers’ who are discerning whether God is calling them to enter the Vincentian community. Inquirers or not, all were working to grow and nurture their spiritualty, their devotion to the Blessed Mother through the Miraculous Medal, and how to live the Vincentian charism in their own lives.

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