High temperatures and humidity did not deter thousands of pilgrims from attending the Novena in honor of Our Lady of Consolation at her Basilica and National Shrine in Carey, Ohio. Conventual Franciscan Friars from all four North American Provinces. as well as Friars from India, Korea, and Zambia, were on hand to welcome, celebrate, and pray with the pilgrims.
The Most Reverend John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, returned to the Shrine to be with the Friars and pilgrims, and offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation alongside dozens of Franciscan Friar priests.
Rev. James Sichko, a priest from the Diocese of Lexington, was the Novena Preacher. Fr. Jim is one of 100 Missionaries of Mercy in the United States (800 worldwide) appointed by Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year.
Rev. Tom Orians, SA, a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement, also returned for this year’s Novena and pilgrimage, as he does every year. Fr. Tom, who was born and raised in northwest Ohio, was the Novena Preacher two years ago, and is another of the 100 Missionaries of Mercy in the US.
For the first time, sixteen Conventual Franciscan postulants attended the Novena and helped the friars and staff at the Shrine. From assisting people with the newly installed elevator to collecting donations at the entrance to Shrine Park, and even picking up trash, these young men stayed busy throughout the last days of the Novena.
The Most Reverend Daniel Thomas, Bishop of Toledo, led the nighttime candlelight procession to Shrine Park on the evening of August 14th for the Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Also helping with the celebration were the seminarians and the Knights of Columbus from the Diocese of Toledo.
Thank you to the pilgrims, many volunteers, Shrine staff, and all who made possible this special celebration in honor of Our Lady of Consolation.
(For many more photos, please visit the Province of Our Lady of Consolation Facebook page.)