Seventy-five pilgrims from the parish of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church of Grand Bay led by their parish priest Rev. Fr. Brancker John embarked on their fourth annual 9-Church Novena on Saturday 3rd August 2019. Unlike previous years when the novena was held in Dominica, this year the group travelled to St. Lucia.
The purpose of these novenas is to pray for the personal intentions of the pilgrims and for peace and harmony in the community, country and the world. Since it is the hurricane season, prayers are offered for protection from all major disasters especially hurricanes and storms. The theme for this year’s 9-Church Novena was, “Stewardship: A Way of Life”.
The pilgrims travelled by the ferry on Thursday 1st August and Friday 2nd August. They were housed and hosted at the Cardinal Kelvin Felix Pastoral Centre, a tranquil property, not far from the capital Castries.
Saturday 3rd August was an intense day of prayer, quiet meditation and reflection, energetic praise and worship and humble adoration. At each stop, there was a different activity. It all started around 6:00am with Eucharistic adoration at the Church of St. Joseph the Worker in Gros Islet in the north of the island. The pilgrimage then continued southward to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries where morning prayers were held.
The third stop was at the Mount of Prayer in Coubaril. The home of the Benedictine Sisters, where the group was treated to a healthy breakfast before participating in the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Incidentally it was the first Saturday of the month. On every 1st Saturday for the past 30 plus years, Catholics gathered at the venue to join the nuns and other clergy for a day of prayer and meditation. The pilgrims from Dominica were warmly welcomed to participate in that inspiring activity.
The prayerful journey then proceeded along the west coast further south to the village of Anse La Raye at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary where the activity was the Stations of the Cross.
It then continued to the picturesque town of Soufriere at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin where there was praise and worship in song and exhortation. Lunch was then served.
The group then went on to the Lady of Lourdes Church in the village of Choisuel where intercessory prayers were held.
At the Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the village of Laborie the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy was said.
The eighth stop of this prayerful journey took the pilgrims to Micoud and the National Shrine of St. Lucy, a church whose architecture is identical to that of the St. Patrick’s Church in Grand Bay. There the Litany in honour of St. Lucy was prayed.
Finally the pilgrims journeyed up the East Coast to the Church of the Most Pure Heart of Mary at Bexon where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated to culminate a truly prayerful and inspiring pilgrimage and tour to St. Lucia.
This pilgrimages was further enhanced by its historical content as Deacon Harcey, a historian in his own right, provided a background to every church visited. For only $700.00, the package cannot be rivaled by any Tour Operator. It was an inspiring and educational pilgrimage in the beautiful Helen of the West. The St.Lucian hospitality was excellent and the organization of the pilgrimage by Fr. John and his volunteers cannot be faulted.