Welland Snaps: Their Soles Were Made For Walking

Two ND pilgrims carry a banner along the recreational waterway route Sunday morning. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

Two ND pilgrims carry a banner along the recreational waterway route Sunday morning. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Several hundred pilgrims put their soles to work for justice Sunday in Welland.

They were participants in Notre Dame College School’s 39th annual pilgrimage, a fundraiser for projects in the developing world.

ND students, teachers, as well as alumni and parents took part in the 20km walk which took them from the Smith Street campus, south along the recreational waterway to Dain City and back to the school. Because a pilgrimage, by definition, is a walk to a holy place, it ended where Mass was celebrated, Dillon Hall, the gym.

The pilgrimage will have raised  $35,000 when outstanding pledges are turned in, said co-ordinator and teacher Carol Berkhout. The money is for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and projects in Lima, Peru and Dominican Republic. The Dominican aid is for Dominican Canadian Community Development Group (DCCD) which was founded by two Notre Dame alumni, Alicia Muniak and Quinn DeVries.

Notre Dame’s pilgrimage is recognized as “the mother” of pilgrimages by Catholic schools in Niagara because it was the first; pilgrimage walks also took place yesterday at Niagara Catholic school board’s seven other high schools to assist various projects in developing countries.

Recognition following the Mass was given to Rev. Gerald Cormier, 83, a Holy Cross Father who took part in the pilgrimage and completed it. Cormier set out at 7 a.m., well ahead of the other pilgrims,  said principal Ralph DeFazio. The pilgrimage began following a prayer service at 9 a.m.

Next year’s will be the 40th anniversary pilgrimage. Organizers want to put a special push on inviting ND alumni “home” to take part in the milestone anniversary, said Berkhout.

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Spiritual theme came from the Old Testament passage, "Let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry." (Amos, 5:24)

Spiritual theme came from the Old Testament passage, “Let justice roll down like a stream, and righteousness like an overflowing river.” (Amos, 5:24)

Holy Cross Father Rev. Jim Mulligan, centre, celebrated the pilgrimage Eucharist assisted by, from left, Fr. Wilfrid  Murchland,  Fr. Brian Keating, Fr. Donald Layden and Fr. Gerald Cormier. Fr. Mulligan is credited with organizing the first fundraiser in 1975.

Holy Cross Father Rev. Jim Mulligan, centre, celebrated the pilgrimage Eucharist assisted by, from left, Fr. Wilfrid Murchland, Fr. Brian Keating, Fr. Donald Layden and Fr. Gerald Cormier. Fr. Mulligan is credited with organizing the first fundraiser in 1975.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. Welland Snaps is a recurring feature on the blog, appearing Mondays.)

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