“There will be no annual pilgrimage at Mariamabad this year,” Archbishop Sebastian Shaw
The announcement comes on Friday, August 28, through Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw’s video message.
Here is the full text of the message
Dear Faithful believers,
“Every year the archdiocese of Lahore conducts annual pilgrimage at National Marian Shrine during the first week of September. Unprecedented because of Corona virus, it saddens me, this year we cannot conduct the pilgrimage. Since, globally all pilgrimages have been restricted we too must comply with the government instructions.”
“This is a special announcement for people who previously took part from remote areas in large numbers instructing them to avoid travelling this time of the year. On September 4, at 4pm Holy Mass will be conducted for celebrating Mother Mary’s birthday. Residents joining us from close vicinities must keep in mind that this Mass is not at an international level”.
“Furthermore, Holy Masses will be carried on September 5, but they are not a part of pilgrimage. We instruct participants to leave the premises at the end of the mass strictly prohibiting overnight stays since there are no accommodations available”.
“This restriction is not in Pakistan just for us but has been implemented globally for the sake of our health. You can and must stay at home and be united with us in prayer through televised mass. Catholic TV will make all arrangements for the broadcast of all masses”.
“We conducted online masses since March 15 for two primary purposes, saving lives and strengthening faith. These still remain our top priorities. The faithful will be updated regarding timing of masses through further notice,” he ended.
The traditional Mariamabad pilgrimage to the Grotto of Our Lady, Daman E Mariam is located in one of the oldest Christian places of Pakistan, about 115 km from Lahore.
In 2020, the Parish priest is Father Tariq George. Local residents are travelling on foot or bicycle while others from remote areas commute by train or car.
More than a million people visited the shrine in September 2019 to celebrate its 70th anniversary including Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, who blessed a new altar at the shrine.
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