Mark Windsor is arranging a pilgrimage to Lourdes and other French shrines next September, hosted by Mark Shea and Fr. Rob Johansen. I'm not sure what all is involved in hosting a pilgrimage, but being a non-host involves a substantial investment in capital and time.
Not everyone has the deep pockets and wide open schedules of a freelance writer or a parochial vicar, though, so we won't all be able to go to Lourdes.
I'm thinking that those of us left behind might feel better if we had our own pilgrimage, quick and on the cheap. Maybe something like a St. Blog's Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Why the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception? Because it's a twenty-minute drive from my house and it has plenty of free parking.
But also because next December is the 150th anniversary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and in anticipation of that event Cardinal McCarrick has obtained a grant for a plenary indulgence for all pilgrims who visit the Basilica:
The Apostolic Penitentiary, by the command of the Supreme Pontiff, gladly grants that a Plenary Indulgence, provided that disposition toward any sin is excluded and under the customary conditions (sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Supreme Pontiff), is to be attained by the Christian faithful in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from December 8, 2003 to December 8, 2004, whenever they will travel there for a pious pilgrimage or in a crowd and they devoutly attend any sacred function or at least recite in common the Lord's Prayer and the Symbol of Faith and even just once, on a day freely chosen by each member of the faithful.
And also because there are enough NoVa/DC/MD folks around these blogs that I suspect we could get at least half a dozen people together for Mass and lunch.
Just to pick a date, we could say May 15, a Saturday. But I'm pretty flexible.