Parishes gather to celebrate Reward pilgrimage in unique circumstances of COVID-19

The traditional procession of banners from parishes throughout St. Joseph Colony began the 2020 Reward pilgrimage July 12. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Abiding by measures required for gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, parishioners from across St. Joseph’s Colony gathered July 12 for their annual pilgrimage to the historic Holy Rosary Church and shrine site south of Reward, SK, one of the few pilgrimages across the province to go ahead in 2020.

Household and family groups sat together, physically distancing from each other on the hillside before the outdoor altar, with numbers limited according to government and health authority rules. As with other church celebrations, distribution of communion took place at the conclusion of Mass, with extra sanitizing and other protective steps.

Those gathered for the annual pilgrimage prayed the rosary together under sunny Sunday skies, before the start of the late afternoon outdoor Mass, with the rain staying away until the end of the celebration.

Many summer pilgrimages in Saskatchewan cancelled this year: ARTICLE

A traditional procession of parish banners was again part of the Reward pilgrimage, which started 88 years ago in the area known as St. Joseph’s Colony.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided at Mass, joined by pastors from the area: Fr. Edward Gibney (Biggar, Landis); Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC, (Macklin, Denzil, St. Donatus); Fr. Gregory Roth (Unity, Tramping Lake); Fr. Santhosh Thekkekulam, VC, (Wilkie, Leipzig, Handel); and Fr. Daniel Yasinski (Kerrobert, Major, Dodsland, Luseland).

View a gallery of photos:

Video of Reward pilgrimage Mass: