Hallman recounts pilgrimage to Chicago area


By Hannah Hallman

The third pilgrimage sponsored by the parishes in Burlington and West Burlington traveled to Chicago earlier this month. Father Marty Goetz, pastor of the parishes, and Heather Tieman, director of Faith Formation and Evangelization, coordinated the pilgrimage. The first stop was Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica National Shrine in the heart of Chicago.

Hannah Hallman
Father Marty Goetz, pastor of parishes in Burlington and West Burlington, celebrates Mass at one of the chapels in the Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica National Shrine in Chicago on May 1.

Friar Frank Falco gave a history of this beautiful parish and shrine. The parish was founded in 1874 and since its beginning has been directed by the Friar Servants of Mary, also known as the Servites. This architectural beauty has been Chicago’s most cherished Marian Shrine. Ground was broken for a larger church building in 1890 and it was dedicated in 1892. Pope Pius XII designated the church as a basilica in 1956.

The basilica was named the National Shrine of St. Peregrine of Our Sorrowful Mother in the 1990s. St. Peregrine, the patron saint for those who suffer from cancer and other life-threatening diseases, was a major factor in the decision of many Catholics to take part in this pilgrimage.


Pilgrims were awestruck from the moment they entered the shrine. “Wow, it’s just like the basilica I walked through in Rome,” Tieman said. After giving a brief history of the basilica and shrine, Friar Falco led the pilgrims on a tour to see the many gems within the basilica. Most impressive was a full-sized marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

After the tour, the pilgrims gathered in one of the many chapels within the basilica to celebrate Mass with Fr. Goetz. Diane Mansheim, the pilgrimage’s co-coordinator, served as cantor.

The pilgrims’ second stop was the University of St. Mary by the Lake Seminary in the Village of Mundelein, Ill., of which Fr. Goetz is a graduate. The Village of Mundelein was named after Archbishop George Mundelein in 1924, shortly before he was named a cardinal. He authorized the construction of St. Mary’s of the Lake Seminary.

With help from Fr. Goetz, Tieman guided the tour of the campus and its amazing scenery which features a lake and wooded grounds. After dinner and evening prayers, the pilgrims enjoyed pleasant conversation in the gathering room at Mundelein Seminary. An overnight stay in the dorms was peaceful and comfortable.

Morning prayers began at 7 a.m., followed by breakfast in the dining hall. The pilgrims boarded their bus after breakfast and headed to Marytown Retreat House and Conference Center and the site of the National Shrine of St. Maximillian Kolbe in Libertyville, Ill. Brother Don Basanna gave the fascinating biography of the martyred saint.

A tour of Marytown took the pilgrims through a museum of the horrors of Nazi Germany during WWII and the Holocaust. St. Maximillian Kolbe’s courageous role in condemning Nazi Germany’s treatment and murder of Jews led to his arrest and to his death in the Auschwitz Con­centration Camp. Named the patron saint of Auschwitz, St. Maximillian Kolbe surrendered his life by taking the place of a man condemned to die in the gas chamber.

Mass followed at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. After lunch, the pilgrims gathered in front of the chapel for a blessing by Father Anthony Jelinck and a group photo. The Burlington and West Burlington parishes will continue to organize more pilgrimages in the coming years.

(Hannah Hallman was a pilgrim on this trip.)

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