SMALL SEEDS, IF well-planted and tended to, flower into much larger growths. On a Friday morning last month, just four pilgrims set out from the town of Rawson in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina, but by the time they reached their destination — a Latin Mass in the Marian basilica of Luján — their numbers swelled to nearly a hundred. The pilgrimage of November 5th, 6th, and 7th, under the patronage of ‘Our Lady of Christendom’ (Nuestra Señora de Cristiandad) was inspired by the traditional Paris-Chartres pilgrimage every Pentecost weekend. The organisers hope that, like the Chartres pilgrimage, this trek to Luján will become an annual recurring event.
“Renewing Christendom in Argentina” was the theme of this year’s pilgrimage, which “seeks to promote the rich tradition of the Roman Catholic Church for our times” the organisers announced in a press release after its completion.
“This new 100-kilometre pilgrimage was an act of reparation and praise to God, imploring the salvation of souls through the renewal of Christian culture and the rediscovering of the bi-millennial tradition of the Church.”
Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite was offered every day of the pilgrimage, and ample opportunities to engage in the sacrament of confession were provided. Because the Friday on which the pilgrimage started was not a day off in Argentina, only four marchers began from Rawson, but they were joined with others at the end of the day when they reached the town of Rivas.
On the third day, as the enlarged group caught its first glimpse of the soaring spires of the Basilica of Our Lady of Luján, the pilgrims bowed toward the shrine and sang the Salve Regina before proceeding towards the city. On that day, the feast of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces, the final Mass of the pilgrimage was offered in the crypt of the Basilica by His Excellency Antonio Baseotto, the Bishop Emeritus of the Armed Forces.
The pilgrimage organisers offered their thanks to all the priests who offered the sacraments along the route, with a special thanks to Fr. Vivian Ferran, parish priest of Suipacha, for giving permission for the Tridentine Mass to be offered in his church in Rivas, and to Fr. Daniel Blanchoud, rector of the Basilica, who was enthusiastic about having the Mass celebrated in the crypt and instructed that permission would be given for future years as well.
Fr. Domingo Alberto Soria, the Episcopal Delegate for the Litugy of the Archdiocese of Mercedes-Luján sent the pilgrims a letter of encouragement, which ended: “With the hope that this event is a step in the spirit of ecclesial communion and richness of the liturgical life of the Shrine of Luján, I send a cordial greeting in the Lord and in Santa María de Luján.”