WATERBURY—The Second Annual Mountaintop Mass at Holy Land USA, honoring the life and legacy of Venerable Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, will be held April 28, Divine Mercy Sunday.
Auxiliary Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt will celebrate the Mass, which is cosponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Holy Land USA.
“We are hoping for a beautiful spring day, and this has the potential to be a landmark event,” said Father James Sullivan, pastor of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury and organizer of the event. “I believe something truly wonderful is going to come from this and that it will reignite the faith in many people.”
Father Sullivan expects attendance to exceed last year’s Mass, which attracted more than 1000 people from across the state to the former religious theme park, known for its 60-foot illuminated cross, which can be seen for miles from the highway.
Last year, Archbishop Leonard Blair concelebrated the Mass with 13 priests and three deacons on a stage that had a large banner proclaiming, “Welcome to Holy Land USA.” The mountaintop offers a view of the places where Waterbury native Father McGivney was born, baptized, educated and buried for 92 years until his remains were moved to the Church of St. Mary in New Haven, where he began the Knights of Columbus.
During the 1960s and 70s, the park, which opened in 1955, attracted 45,000 visitors a year—they were tourists and pilgrims who went to pray, meditate and recall the events of Jesus’ life, from his birth to his crucifixion, by following a path that circled the hill and led to a depiction of Calvary.
After falling into disrepair, Holy Land closed in 1984. However, in recent years, it has experienced a revival. The roads have been repaved, the hilltop is landscaped, exhibits are being restored and a new gate and arch are being installed at the entrance.
The Mountaintop Mass will held rain or shine at 3 pm, April 28. Praise and worship by the Christian group Hands and Feet will start at 1:30 pm, followed by the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 2:30 pm. There will be shuttles to the event along with refreshments, tents and seating.
(For more information, go to holylandwaterbury.org.)