More than 1,500 Expected to Make Diocesan Pilgrimage to Washington, D. C. this Weekend

BRIDGEPORT—Thirty buses will leave from parishes and schools throughout Fairfield County this Saturday morning to take more than 1,500 faithful on the diocesan pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for a day of prayer and worship.

Many other Catholics of all ages across the diocese are also expected to make the drive to the National Shrine for what is shaping up to be another historic day in the life of the diocese.

This afternoon the diocese released final bus times and guidelines for pilgrims who will leave early in the morning and return the same day. (see links at beginning and end of this article)

The Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will be broadcast live by EWTN beginning at 2 p.m.

Following Mass, the pilgrims will process outdoors for the blessing and dedication of a new outdoor Rosary Path and Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima and the Visionaries. The events will end around 4:30 pm.

All pilgrims will receive a prayer book and a one-decade rosewood Our Lady of Fatima Rosary, which the bishop will bless during the dedication.

According to Patrick Donovan, director of the Leadership Institute which is coordinating the day, many parishes, schools, and Ecclesial movements throughout the diocese have reserved their own buses in addition to those that are departing from St. Jude Parish in Monroe, the Catholic Center in Bridgeport and Trinity High School in Stamford. They are expected to arrive by 1 pm and to return to Connecticut at 11:30 pm on the same day.

Donovan said pilgrims should pack a lunch including a drink, which they can enjoy on the grounds of the National Shrine. The buses will also stop for a break en route to Washington, D. C.

Earlier this year, when he announced plans for the pilgrimage, the Bishop Caggiano said, “The pilgrimage encourages everyone to become missionary disciples with me, and to invite their friends, family and neighbors to deepen their faith and their relationship with the Lord.”

In a video invitation on his Facebook page, Bishop Caggiano invited people of all ages to join him on the pilgrimage.

“The purpose of a pilgrimage is to break from the ordinary routine and spend time in prayer and gratitude. It is prayer in motion,” the bishop said noting that the one-day pilgrimage will be “a journey into the beauty, mystery and power of prayer.”

The diocesan pilgrimage grew out of the “Face of Prayer” campaign launched by the bishop earlier this year to encourage youth and people of all ages to deepen their prayer life.

“It is also a continuation of the renewal called for by the Fourth Diocesan Synod,” Donovan said.

There may be some very limited seating still available on buses, and pilgrims are still welcome to make the drive to Washington, D.C to participate in the Mass and Blessing. For further information email Deirdra Kearney:


Dear Fellow Pilgrims:

As we make our final preparations for the pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that will take place this Saturday, September 23, 2017, please take a moment to review these final details:

  1. The departure schedule is attached for those buses being coordinated by the Diocese of Bridgeport. If you do not remember which bus is yours, please email immediately. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the departure so that the bus can leave promptly at the scheduled time. In addition, it is imperative that you not change buses. NOTE: If you are on a bus sponsored by a parish, please contact the organizer at the parish.
  2. Please pack a lunch, including a drink. The bus will likely stop for a break on the way down, but lunch will be on the grounds of the Shrine, weather permitting.
  3. A general tour will be offered to all pilgrims at 12:30 pm in the Upper Church of the Basilica. After that, you are free to take a self-guided tour, or celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation.
  4. Mass begins promptly at 2 pm. As it will be broadcast live on EWTN, please be in your seat no later than 1:45 pm.
  5. Following Mass, we will process to the outdoor shrine, which is only a short walk from the basilica. Please check the weather and dress appropriate.
  6. The events will end around 4:30 pm.
  7. Catholic University of America is hosting an open house the same day as the pilgrimage. Please note that this may impede the availability of restaurants around the Basilica. A list of restaurants within a 1Ž2-mile distance from the Basilica is attached, but your bus captain may make other arrangements. Some buses will opt to get on the road immediately and stop on the way home for dinner. The cost of dinner is not included in the pilgrimage.
  8. The cafeteria at the Basilica closes at 2 pm. The gift shop is open until 7 pm.
  9. The bus driver will be the best point of contact for when your group will return, and your bus captain will have that information as well.
  10. All pilgrims will receive a prayer book and a one-decade rosewood Our Lady of Fatima Rosary, which the bishop will bless during the dedication.
  11. People are welcome to dress comfortably for the ride on the bus, however, please be dressed appropriately for Mass.
  12. Please continue to pray for one another and the over 1500 pilgrims who will gather on Saturday.

If you have any questions between now and Saturday morning, or if you hear of someone else who wishes to go (we must hear from them immediately), please