Assumption pilgrims walk 14km for Mother Mary

By Mary Brazell, 20 August 2019
Pilgrims pose for a photographer before the Assumption Pilgrim Walk at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, Kellyville. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.


50 pilgrims from across Western Sydney have walked 14 kilometres from the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, Kellyville, to St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta in honour of the Feast of the Assumption, 15 August.

Along the way they prayed the rosary, sang litanies and recited chaplets dedicated to Our Lady.

The pilgrimage, now in its seventh year, began in the Chapel of the Shrine with midday Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated by Bishop Vincent Long, Bishop of Parramatta.

View images from the Assumption Pilgrimage here or below.

2019 Assumption Pilgrim Walk (56 of 121)

In his homily, Bishop Vincent said that Mary holds a special place in his heart, and that all should follow in her footsteps.

“The Feast of the Assumption always holds a special place in my heart.

“It takes me back to the time when I was on a boat, adrift on the vast Pacific Ocean and at the mercy of the elements. We had started out on the Feast of St Clare and on the eve of the Assumption, we were in serious trouble. Food had run out, water had run out and fuel had run out.

“As if that wasn’t enough, a huge storm gathered and unleashed its fury right near where we were. In desperation, we got out our rosaries and began to pray in earnest. I am sure nobody could physically hear us for the pounding of the waves, the rain and the thunder. Yet somehow, we survived the ordeal and the day after, we were rescued from our sinking boat, just in time.

Bishop Vincent during Mass on the Feast of the Assumption. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

“Today’s celebration fills us with hope because it anticipates the final victory of God over evil, violence and death. In the power of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, we partake of God’s love, which is stronger than death. As we gather to honour the Assumption of Mary today, we give thanks for her maternal care and protection.

“Mary has cared and protected us in our journeys of life, through all changes and upheavals. Mary, who acts in solidarity with those who are in every kind of need.

“Therefore, we cannot simply honour her without following her example of care and protection for others.

“May Mary then help us to be carers and protectors of those who have been entrusted to us. May she also guide us in our Christian discipleship as we seek to be salt to the earth and light for the world,” Bishop Vincent said.

Following Mass, Br Dominic Levak OFM Conv, who helped organise the pilgrimage, thanked the Bishop for celebrating Mass and spoke to the pilgrims about the spirit of the walk.

Br Dominic Levak OFM Conv speaks to pilgrims ahead of the Assumption Pilgrimage Walk. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

“This is our seventh walk, and those of us who have started in the first walk, this will be 98 kilometres we have had the grace to walk for Our Lady.

“I realise that not everyone is well enough and not able to do the walk, but can you please support us spiritually today.

“This is not a marathon. This is not so we look trim and slim. This is a spiritual walk, it’s an act of love for our Blessed Mother. But whatever inspires you to walk today, may it be blessed,” Br Dominic said.

Bishop Vincent blessed the group of pilgrims before they departed from Kellyville along Windsor Road.

Pilgrim Eddy Borovnjak, from Holy Name of Mary Parish, Rydalmere, said that the Assumption walk is “very prayerful.”

“There was a big difference in support this year, with cars honking and people cheering. To me, it felt like there was this light of Jesus in front of us as we walked.

“It’s a very prayerful experience. Different people come for different reasons on the walk, but everyone feels uplifted by the end of it.

“The walk is a nice way to honour Our Lady and to pray for others. I love being involved,” Eddy said.

Pilgrims walk along Windsor Road during the Assumption Pilgrimage Walk. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Throughout the journey, pilgrims took breaks at St Michael’s Church, Baulkham Hills, and St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta.

The pilgrims arrived at the Cathedral at 6.30pm, where they received a certificate acknowledging their completion of the pilgrimage.

Yolanda Franco, a parishioner from the Parish of Baulkham Hills happened to come across the Assumption Pilgrimage in 2017, and knew she wanted to get involved.

“I was walking home from work and I saw this group walking on the other side of the road. They were carrying banners, singing and saying the rosary. I happened to also recognise a friend of mine walking in the group,” Yolanda explained.

“I can’t explain why, but tears were falling down my face as I saw them singing and praying the rosary. I stood and watched them until I couldn’t see them anymore. I then called my friend who was in the group, and asked her what that was, and she explained that it was a walk they always do.

“From that day, I told her that I will put the walk in my agenda and walk it every year.

“To me, Mother Mary is the Mother of Jesus, and she plays a very important part in my life.

“This is my second time walking, and it was amazing, beautiful and spiritual. The feeling is unexplainable. I felt elated and proud when I walk. I felt proud to be a Catholic. It was beautiful,” she said.

Pilgrims carry Marian banners during the Assumption Pilgrimage Walk. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Veteran pilgrim Nimmy Abaykoon, also from the Parish of Baulkham Hills, said she will continue walking the pilgrimage as long as she can.

“This year, I carried a [Marian] banner all the way from the Shrine to St Patrick’s Cathedral, and I really felt that I was walking with her.

“I take part in the walk purely for the love of our Blessed Mother, what she has done for my family and how she continues to do powerful things in our lives.

“Every walk I grow in love for [Our Lady].

“This is my sixth walk and I will continue to walk as long as I can.”

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Holy Day of Obligation in Australia, meaning all Catholics must attend Mass if it is possible for them to do so.

View images from the Assumption Pilgrimage here or below.


Assumption Pilgrimage 2019


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