August 1st-15th: 142-Mile Pilgrimage to the Northwest Detention CenterSeattle 21 Jul 2009 05:39 GMT
“A number of people, of my friends, were making pilgrimages in Europe,” said Mary Mele, an Assumption parishioner and a member of Whatcom Pax Christi, “and I thought, ‘Gee, why does Europe have the corner on pilgrimages?’”
Mele added, “I thought, ‘Oh yes, we need a miracle for immigration reform.’ So why not walk and pray? It’s going to take a miracle.”
Mele said the pilgrimage is open to people of all denominations and anyone who wants to join in the effort to promote comprehensive immigration reform.
The pilgrimage is expected to cover 142 miles using the urban trail to avoid the I-5 freeway. Organizers of the pilgrimage said the event will involve walking about nine miles a day broken into three shorter daily treks. Mele said participants are welcome to participate “for an hour, for a day, for the entire walk.”
A difficult issue
Father Scott Connolly, pastor of the Church of the Assumption, said Mele originated the idea because she wanted to highlight the issue of immigrant rights, and how we as Americans need to struggle with the difficult issue of immigration reform.
He noted that the pilgrimage will end on the feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15.
Lee Langdon, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Bellingham and Whatcom Pax Christi, will be among the pilgrims.
“I think the pilgrimage is important because many people believe myths about immigrants, and these myths are dangerous to us all,” she said. “Ignorance can fuel actions that are very unChristlike in very ordinary people.”
The daily pilgrimage will include prayer, food and rest after each section and at the end of each day. Other ways to support the effort, organizers said, include bringing supplies, making meals and praying.
Coordinators said organizations are welcome to publicize, support and walk in the pilgrimage, which will end with a prayer service at the detention center, asking for “a sane, humane way” to treat immigrants.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
For more information about the immigration reform pilgrimage and how to help, go to the pilgrimage blog http://whatcom.blogs.com/pilgrimage/ .
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