More than 30 pilgrims gathered at the steps of the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee for a day of spiritual revitalization and historical enlightenment. The Altar and Rosary Society of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Shrine revived its tradition of conducting an annual pilgrimage after a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
There are only 91 basilicas in the country, and the Basilica of St. Josaphat was the third in the United States to earn that designation. Built with bricks from the original Chicago post office, St. Josaphat is inspired by both St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Francis of Assisi’s Basilica in Assisi. Located in the middle of downtown Milwaukee, the basilica houses a Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, a reliquary chapel, a smaller church for adoration, a sanctuary, galleries of stained glass, an exhibit telling the basilica’s history, and an entrance hall devoted to Pope John Paul II. The pope’s coat of arms and umbrella, symbols of a basilica, are honorably displayed.
A welcome and blessing by Friar Bede Thigpen and a group rosary in the basilica were followed by a tour, with personal time set aside for shopping, exploring or individual reflection. After a 4:30 p.m. Mass, Fr. Bob Cook chatted with the group, blessed their purchases, and sent everyone off with a final benediction before they boarded the bus back to Mount Carmel.
A spring pilgrimage is in the works. For more information or to sign up, call the Mount Carmel office at 708-344-4140.