ARAPAHOE (SNR) - This Mother’s Day, May 12, the parishioners of St. Germanus Church in Arapahoe will lead a 16-mile walking pilgrimage from St. Michael Church in Oxford, to the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Arapahoe.
The shrine was built by Father Henry Denis, out of gratitude to our Lord and His mother for helping him survive a German concentration camp during World War II. Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Arapahoe is an official pilgrimage site chosen by the Diocese of Lincoln during the Catholic Church’s "Year of Faith." If a pilgrim completes the requirement of meditation, Communion and reconciliation, the pilgrim will receive a plenary indulgence (or remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven).
The May 12 walk is titled, "honor your mother," and participants will walk the Our Lady of Fatima pilgrimage on the eve of the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima.
The pilgrimage is spearheaded by Deborah Schaben, a member of St. Germanus Parish. In 2009, she walked the "El Camino de Santiago," or The Way of St. James, an ancient pilgrimage leading to the tomb of the saint in Santiago, Spain. Pilgrims have been making the journey for well over a thousand years, to commemorate the life and sacrifice of the apostle. Bishop James Conley made the Camino pilgrimage last fall with two other bishops and priest friends.
"It changed my life so profoundly," Schaben said, "that I walked the entire Camino in October 2011 again. I rediscovered part of my purpose in life – to bring others on pilgrimage, and in a sense, closer to God."
The Oxford-to-Arapahoe is one such event she’s planned. Participating pilgrims will walk at 8 a.m. Sunday and conclude in the late afternoon. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided along the route (lunch will be held at 11 a.m. in Edison). There will be a chance for Mass and confession. This is a free event, but registration is mandatory to participate, and the registration deadline is May 9. Schaben emphasized that the event is open to everyone, no matter their religious background.
For those pilgrims unable to walk the entire 16 miles, the midway point of Edison can also be used as a starting point. The walking route is flat and follows highways and country roads.
Accommodations in the form of a temporary albergue (hostel) in Oxford are available for an additional cost of $10 per person. A spaghetti supper will be included with the price. Pilgrims should bring their own bedding, as they will be sleeping on the floor. There will also be a meditation corner available and the possibility of Adoration at St. Michael Church across the street from the Oxford Senior Center.
Additional accommodations are available with tent sites available behind the Shrine, as well as more camping sites at Arapahoe and Oxford City Parks. There are also local hotels such as Hunt Nebraska Lodge and Shady Rest Motel in Arapahoe. Transportation to and from Oxford and Arapahoe will be provided.