Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pilgrimage for intercession

crossing from Lake County to Cuyahoga
Pilgrimages may be defined as journeys made to some place with the purpose of venerating it, or in order to ask there for supernatural aid, or to discharge some religious obligation. — Catholic Encyclopedia 1911
twenty-one miles along Euclid Avenue from mentor and then across East 82nd
HOLA is a Latino organization advocacy organisation that meets in Painesville, Lorain, Akron and Norwalk. Monday the Fourth of May, HOLA organised a pilgrimage of some twenty-one miles along US Route 20, Euclid Avenue (the extension of what had been Cleveland's Millionaires Row). When they reached East 82nd they turned north. Their destination was a Polish parish church, Saint Casimir's. (see: click) (and: click again)

Most of the marchers were Mexican immigrants (and their children). There was a private intention (supported communally), and a public intention to gain the attention of the public about immigration issues, and especially concerning the re-unification of families separated by bureaucratic, and capricious deportation, deportation orders, and similar threats.

Some one hundred people marched, and sometimes rode as support crew or tired peregrinos.  One of the banners has Our Lady of Guadalupe with Spanish, which in English translation is Patroness and Protectoress of Immigrants. She is the Mexican Madonna, Mary the Mother of God. The Polish Madonna is Our Lady of Częstochowa. She is the same person, but many nations have their special aspect, guise, and icon of her. 

The private intention was for the family of Elizabeth Perez, formerly Staff Sergeant US Marines. This was the groups second walk to Saint Casimir's. Last year they marched for the family of Ricardo Ramos, and it was successful. That family is united in Perry Ohio.

While speaking with a couple of the marchers, who were not Mexicans, it was a surprise to them why Mexicans would go to a Polish parish. Not fully a surprise. Many of the Mexicans were from west-central Mexico where the Cristeros were strong during the persecutions of the Mexican Revolution. Saint Casimir fought successfully by appealing to Rome to have their capricious overseer (bishop) overruled. Many of the most fervent of these Casimiri were born in their old country, and like the Mexicans were constitutionally and fundamentally culturally traditional Catholics. They understood the concept of pilgrimage, and had devotion to Mary. Others at St. Casimir realised that their families came to America as unwelcomed immigrants too, and the Catholic parish had been friendlier than the greater society. So there was spiritual, and institutional esprit de corps of the two groups.
Peregrinos in the pews of Saint Casimir
But how did the two groups find each other? Most of these Mexican pilgrims live in Lake County, Painesville and near by surrounds. It is who do you know? John Niedzialek's family has a long history with Saint Casimir. His letter was the first to arrive on the correct desk in Rome to save the parish. He had worked around Lake County government, and had come to know Veronica Dahlberg, director of HOLA Ohio. He recounted the recent history of Saint Casimir's. On the day of the parish's eviction, a Polish Mass was celebrated, and part of the service was a solemn outdoor procession and a dedication of the parish to Our Lady of Częstochowa. The next Sunday, the parish met in the street through the organising of Dr. Michael Klymiuk. He had a dream in which the Mother of God told him, "Do not leave me". One hundred and thirty nine consecutive Sundays they met outside the church, on the Sunday thereafter and since they have met inside.

After the Ramos' family asked Mary's intercession at Saint Casimir, they have every reason to believe she interceded for them. Then the family of Luis Nicasio Padilla asked for her intercession, and they have every reason to believe she interceded for them. The family of Pedro Hernandez Ramirez came, and they were also successful in their petition.

They made their pilgrimage march yesterday. They said prayers of petitions and thankfulness. They had a service of Benediction, and Exposition of the Host.
In addition: David Sutherland, a documentarian that has worked with Public Broadcasting came to record the day. A reporter from East Cleveland saw the marchers and asked them their story. (click) Elizabeth said to him she saw that City Hall had no flag, and he intervened. (click)
addendum: May 3rd is the feast day of Our Lady of Częstochowa, this event took place the day thereafter.
see the following about the pilgrimage caminata:
(click America's Voice) and (fotos on facebook)

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