Making the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Ann 0
The Bishop of Pembroke, Bishop Michael Mulhall lead the service to over a 1000 pilgrims on Sunday morning at the 74th annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Ann in Cormac.
CORMAC- Thousands attend the 74th annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Ann.
Under bright blue skies over a 1000 people took part in the Sunday morning service at the Shrine of St. Ann in Cormac.
The service, lead by the Bishop of Pembroke, Bishop Michael Mulhall began just after 11 am when church bells tolled, signalling the procession to head to the altar.
As seminarian Stephen Helferty carried the cross he was followed by altar servers, Knights of Columbus members in their colourful uniforms and finally Roman Catholic clergymen.
While, it was late morning the sun's rays had many pilgrims seeking shelter in the shade. Throughout the service pilgrims were granted a brief break from the sun as it passed behind clouds.
Bishop Mulhall admitted that after five years of attending the event, this was the first year he applied sunscreen to his head, to ensure he didn't end up with a white circle on the top of his head, where his zucchetto sat.
He thanked the pilgrims for attending the event telling them "it was a testimony of their faith," to make the trek to Cormac.
His main message throughout his homily was life is the ultimate pilgrimage, as the final destination for people is heaven. He stressed the word intention through his sermon. Referring to the Gospel according to John chapter six, Bishop Mulhall spoke about faith, intention and miracles. Similar to the miracle John recounts when Jesus feeds 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish.
With the intention of helping farmers the bishop asked the pilgrims to pray for rain to salvage farmers' crops and livestock because of the drought that has hit the area this year.
Although, there hasn't been any documented miracles from the pilgrims who flock to the local Shrine of St. Ann, Bishop Mulhall believes it has helped pilgrims over come obstacles and had guided them through difficult times.
He asked the pilgrims to bring the needs they have in their lives and their families "to the lord through the intercession of St. Ann."
St. Ann is Mary's mother and Jesus' grandmother.
Officials estimate a couple thousand people made their way to Cormac this year for the four day pilgrimage, travelling from as far away as Saulte Ste. Marie, Peterbrough and Quebec.
This year the pilgrims were blessed to have the Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, the Metropolitan Archbishop as a principal celebrant and homilist.
While, it was less than 100 kilometres to travel for Barry's Bay resident Maggie Foster, she attends the annual event because, "it is peaceful."
After the service Ms. Foster had some medals blessed by Bishop Mulhall.
Next year will mark the 75th year of the annual event and Bishop Mulhall is asking people to volunteer to help with the shrine's milestone. The shrine was built in 1938.
Cyndi Mills is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist