Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It will take several posts about the pilgrimage to do it justice. Also, I am swamped with reading in the middle of the week; thus, it will take me a few more days to put it all together with pictures. (We couldn't take pictures inside the church, however.)

It was an amazing day. It started out with a complete downpour to the extent we almost cancelled. Everyone decided to go anyway. Interestingly, when we got to the start point the rain had decreased to a mist. There were about 30 of us including Cody and Felicity. I thought the 'hike' would follow roads. Boy, was I ever wrong!! It was truly a hike through the mountains as we followed a river for the first four hours of the pilgrimage along trails that were cut right on the side of a mountain. Many times we were walking on wood planking that was laid upon steel beams driven into the rock on the side of the mountain so we were walking over water.

It was a very fast pace with little messing around. I tried to separate myself from the crowd so I could pray as I walked. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner." I ended up carrying water, umbrellas, and lunch for the kids and I in a backpack. Also, I had put extra clothes (for Mass if I was too wet), my Bible, homework, and snacks into the pack. It must have weighed 30 lbs. It was far too heavy, but I found the weight consoling for two reasons. One, it represented my sin that I was taking to lay at the feet of Christ and Our Lady of Mariazell. In addition, it represented, to me, all of the wonderful benefactors back in Idaho. (Not that I considered any of you as my sin ;-)) I consciously carried each and every one of you to Mariazell to lay at our Lady's feet on her birthday. You were with me every step of the way.

Yes, we made the pilgrimage on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mother. It was a wonderful occasion as we saw our destination and could rest in the Eucharistic presence of our Lord. The church was absolutely gorgeous. Words, or pictures, can't do justice to the beauty of the basilica. The picture I posted below was of the main altar. There are two where mass is said. We celebrated Mass at the altar where the statue of Our Lady of Mariazell is enshrined. It was a full Second Vatican Mass where all the common prayers of the Mass were done in Latin and the readings were in German. We even received Communion at an altar rail! Some of the students formed an impromptu choir and sang Latin hymns acapella through the Mass. It was mystical to say the least. This view looks towards the altar where we celebrated mass (it is bit tough to see). The ceiling is amazing with hundreds of saints painted onto it.

Here is view of the outside of the basilica and the rest of the town.

Here is the wikipedia entry for Mariazell with a few more pictures. I still have some of my own to add and some more thoughts. Aristotle comes very early in the morning so I must sign off for now...

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