Pilgrimage to explore Civil War sites

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - Updated: 11:03 am

Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report

A special Civil War pilgrimage to Catholic sites in Gettysburg and Emmitsburg, Maryland, is planned for May 26-27, Memorial Day weekend, with Aux. Bishop William Waltersheid.

The pilgrims’ bus will depart Saturday at 7:30 a.m. from St. Paul Seminary in Crafton and head to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Mount St. Mary University in Emmitsburg for Mass. The shrine, a popular place of pilgrimage, features one of the oldest replicas of the grotto in Lourdes, France.

Following lunch in the Carriage House restaurant, the group will be given a guided tour of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint. She established the first U.S. community of religious sisters and first Catholic school in Emmitsburg.

The visitors will learn about how the Daughters and Sisters of Charity ministered to and cared for soldiers on both sides of the war, even though their own lives were in danger.

After checking in at their hotel (Comfort Inn Suites) in Gettysburg, the group will walk past where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his address and the Ginnie Wade house, home of the only civilian killed in the battle. Dinner will be at the Dobbin House, which was built in 1776 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Following breakfast, the pilgrims will board their bus and travel to St. Francis Xavier Church in Gettysburg, which was used as a hospital for wounded Union and Confederate soldiers. Bishop Waltersheid will preside at Sunday Mass.

Later, a licensed battlefield guide who specializes in Catholic history will lead the group, with a stop at the monument to Holy Cross Father William Corby, where he gave general absolution to the Irish Brigade on July 2, 1863, as they prepared for battle.

Before departing for Pittsburgh, the group will have lunch at the historic Farnsworth House Inn, dining outside (weather permitting) in a Civil War encampment.

The pilgrims are due to return to St. Paul Seminary by 7-8 p.m.

Cost of the pilgrimage ($399 per person) includes air-conditioned coach transportation, all meals, hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy) and tour guides. The itinerary is subject to change. Rates available for single, triple, quad and quint occupancy (as low as $309 per person).

For information and to reserve a seat, call Belinda at 724-679-7450 or e-mail belinda@apilgrimsjourney.com. Check out the website www.apilgrimsjourney.com. 

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