Del Rio Marian Pilgrimage to the Holy Doors of Mercy
On October 9, fifty-two pilgrims made the journey from Del Rio to Brackettville and then to San Antonio to visit four of the sixteen designated Holy Doors of Mercy in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
The Legion of Mary of the Del Rio Catholic Faith Community and Spiritual Director Father Antonio O. Moreno, retired military chaplain assigned to assist at the three parishes in Del Rio, sponsored the Marian Pilgrimage to the Holy Doors of Mercy.
Before the start of the pilgrimage the pilgrims gathered inside St. Joseph Church in Del Rio to begin with prayer and a blessing from Father Moreno.
The pilgrims each received a gift bag filled with various prayer cards including Pope Francis’s Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy and an assortment of holy sacramental’s, among them the Rosary and the Miraculous Medal, which hold special significance for the Legion of Mary and which the pilgrims utilized for their spiritual journey throughout the day.
The first Holy Door of Mercy was St. Mary Magdalene Church in Brackettville.
The pilgrims were greeted by the choir singing “Ave de Lourdes – Del Cielo Ha Bajado” and Father James Ikeatuegwu, Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene bestowed a blessing upon the pilgrims. As the bus departed Brackettville the pilgrims prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
The second Holy Door of Mercy was Mission San José where the pilgrims disembarked at the Visitor Center and viewed the video presentation.
Then the pilgrims entered through the Holy Doors of Mercy and Father Rogelio Martinez Ruteaga, Pastor of Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo imparted a blessing upon the pilgrims.
The third Holy Door of Mercy was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, which is celebrating 90 years as a parish, 1926-2016.
After entering the Holy Doors of Mercy the pilgrims were greeted by tour guide Homer Guitan.
He presented a very entertaining and informative historical overview of the Basilica.
The highlight of the tour was the special surprise that Mr. Guitan had been hinting at throughout the tour.
The pilgrims knelt at the marble communion rail and were blessed by Father Moreno with the first class relic of St. Therese the Little Flower.
Diane Garcia, parishioner from Sacred Heart Church in Del Rio commented about the pilgrimage, “It was a beautiful experience. I was looking forward to it since I first signed up. I felt moved and touched when we went to the Little Flower Basilica. It brought tears to my eyes.”
The fourth and final Holy Door of Mercy on the emotionally exhilarating and spiritually invigorating pilgrimage was at San Fernando Cathedral, where the Archdiocese of San Antonio Jubilee Year of Mercy Mass for all Marian Devotional Groups was celebrated by Father Lawrence Christian, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
The congregation was invited to step outside into the courtyard were everyone gathered and then was led through the Holy Doors of Mercy.
Two Legion of Mary members, Maria Berny and Carmen Tijerina took up the Offertory Gifts.
After the Mass concluded, Father Christian led the congregation in praying along with cards that had been distributed: the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sub Tuum Praesidium and the Memorare.
Eddie Amezcua, Jr., parishioner from St. Joseph Church in Del Rio summed up his experience, “It was an awesome trip. It was something my wife and I wanted to do together. It just brought us closer.”
All the pilgrims exited the bus filled with many wonderful memories and overjoyed with all the special blessings they had received throughout their spiritual journey with Mary, Our Mother of Mercy leading them to enter into the loving embrace of Our Merciful Father.
Gloria Hernandez, parishioner from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church stated, “My experience going with Father Moreno and all my Catholic friends to the Holy Doors has been an inspiration. This is the Jubilee Year of Mercy and we all need to change our hearts and our life to have God’s Mercy and Love in everything we say and do.”
Next year the Legion of Mary will be celebrating the 70th Anniversary, 1947-2017, of its founding in Del Rio at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.
The Legion of Mary began with six members and presently there are a total of 25 members from the three Parishes in Del Rio: Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Joseph and Sacred Heart.
The Marian Pilgrimage to the Holy Doors of Mercy was the first event planned leading up to this milestone in the history of the Legion of Mary in Del Rio.
Pilgrims at Mission San Jose,
Basilica of the National Shrine of The Little Flower
and San Fernando Cathedral
Marian Casillas, Ed.D. and Araceli Faz