By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
The ongoing impact of COVID-19 restrictions on summer events includes the cancellation of a number of historic Prairie pilgrimages to Marian shrines throughout Saskatchewan.
In the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the Blumenfeld and Carmel pilgrimages have been cancelled, with only the Reward pilgrimage going ahead this year.
In the Archdiocese of Regina to date the cancelled pilgrimages include those at Rama, File Hills, Forget, Lestock and Candiac, SK.
The July 15-16 pilgrimage to the St. Laurent shrine near Duck Lake in the Diocese of Prince Albert has also been cancelled.
Registration required for Reward pilgrimage
Although it is going ahead, the annual Reward pilgrimage in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon will not be quite the same in 2020 – the event will feature a reduced program and restricted numbers for the 4 p.m. Mass on Sunday, July 12 at the site of the historic Holy Rosary Church and shrine south of Reward, SK.
Registration is required to ensure the number attending remains within COVID-19 guidelines, stress the Reward pilgrimage organizers. Those who wish to attend must call to register with shrine committee chair Leanne Clark at (306) 228-2117.
Food will not be served as usual at the pilgrimage, although those attending are welcome to bring a picnic supper. In addition, the tent that traditionally has provided a shaded seating area for pilgrims will not be set up this year — instead, participants are asked to bring their own umbrellas or awnings, as well as chairs, beverages, blankets, etc.
Blumenfeld and Carmel events cancelled
An annual pilgrimage to Sts. Peter and Paul Church and Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto at Blumenfeld, SK, which was to have been held June 7, was cancelled this year because of the limits on public gatherings.
The pilgrimage to Mount Carmel shrine in the St. Peter’s Colony area around Muenster / Humboldt has also been cancelled.
Pilgrimages across the province
Other Saskatoon-area pilgrimages outside of the diocese of Saskatoon have also been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
The historic pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine at St. Laurent, near Duck Lake, SK, July 15-16 is cancelled, but the status of events Aug. 15 and Sept. 8 have not yet been determined, according to a message from Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr. of the Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert and parish/pilgrimage leaders on the St. Laurent shrine website.
However, there will be a prayer novena at the St. Laurent shrine site from July 6-14, featuring praying of the Rosary, followed by Mass, celebrated according to the government of Saskatchewan guidelines for public worship, which presently restrict attendance to 150, with physical distancing in place. During the novena, a video of each day’s event will be posted later every evening on the Diocese of Prince Albert Facebook page and on the www.saintlaurentshrine.com website.
In the Archdiocese of Regina, the 2020 annual pilgrimage at Our Lady of Auvergne Church in Ponteix, SK, will go ahead in a simplified form, with a talk, prayer and Mass, beginning at 6 p.m. July 16, with special guest Archbishop (Emeritus) James Weisgerber.