Piqua Parishes prepares for pilgrim’s May visit

PIQUA — At least six pilgrims will make a stop in Piqua as part of the Archdiosces of Cincinnati’s Marian Pilgrimage, to begin Sunday, May 16.

The Marian Pilgrimage is being held to celebrate the Achdiosces of Cincinnati’s bicentennial and will begin on Sunday, May 16 with a Mass at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Russells Point in the Northern area of the Archdiocese. From there, pilgrims will begin their pilgrimage with a special statue of Our Lady of Fatima, blessed by Archbishop Schnurr for the occasion. The pilgrimage will last 33 days, with stops made at parishes in every deanery of the Archdiocese, and will end at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains on the day of the bicentennial, Saturday, June 19. In total, the pilgrims will travel 300 miles around western Ohio by foot, stopping at over 30 churches.

“The archbishop wanted to do something really significant. I think he did a little bit of homework and found that this particular pilgrimage that they’ve come up with is the longest ever in America, so that’s kind of cool,” Judy Lohnes, of Piqua Parishes, said.

The pilgrims will arrive in Piqua the afternoon of Monday, May 24 and begin their time in the city with a debriefing and prayer. Normally, the pilgrims would stay with members of the community, but due to COVID they will be at a hotel during their stay in Piqua. At 7 p.m. there will be a Mass held at St. Mary Catholic Church, which will feature Mary readings in honor of the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. Following the Mass, the church will hold a COVID-friendly reception for those who attended in-person. On the morning of May 25, there will be an 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. Bonafice Catholic Church, and following Mass the pilgrims will return to St. Mary Catholic Church to receive a blessing from the Rev. Daniel Hunt before heading to Troy for the next stop on their journey.

“I like the idea, when I read about it, that they are going to all the deaneries. I think that’s very inclusive so that everybody has access to this amazing blessing time,” Lohnes said. “I’m glad that it’s coming to Piqua. It’s neat because our church is St. Mary Church, and that’s really cool. We already have quite a devotion to Mary in Piqua, and I think it’s going to be a wonderful time for blessings for the city and for our parishioners, and for the whole diosces’ journey through this together.”

Lohnes said that she hopes the community takes away a new and deeper appreciation for mother Mary from the pilgrim’s visit.

“Lots of blessings is what I’m expecting and hoping for as we journey through this — so that all the lives can be touched in a new and vibrant way that maybe they haven’t been recently. I think we all need a little bit of a pick-me-up for Mary to do this for us. It’s very exciting, and we’re very excited to have a part in this,” Lohnes said.