You Should Visit. Really.

All during 2010, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception will be celebrating the 50th anniversary year of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. Pilgrims who visit the National Shrine during the anniversary year are able to receive a plenary indulgence.

Special events are scheduled all throughout the year, but a special Mass to commemorate the actual anniversary of the Shrine's dedication will be held on May 29. Learn more about the special day of celebration.

Chris Alar, as assistant to the Provincial Superior, is spearheading an effort to heighten the pilgrim experience for all visitors to the National Shrine this year.

Both Provincial Superior the Very Rev. Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, and Shrine Rector Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, want more Marians available to serve pilgrims, and this summer, six to eight seminarians and novices will be assigned to this task. They will arrive prior to Memorial Day from the Marian houses in Steubenville, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.

"Pilgrims are in constant need of assistance," Chris says. "This is about being present for them, praying with them, giving talks and tours of the grounds, and providing spiritual guidance. We hope to help [the novices and seminarians] build their pastoral formation. A strong part of being pastoral means having empathy for the flock of God."

Plans call for talks and tours conducted by the seminarians and novices to bookend the normal daily Shrine schedule. "We hope to have talks and tours at 11:15 a.m. and again at 3:45 in the afternoon after the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy," Chris said. "This will be a great opportunity for Marian Helpers, and especially our seminarian supporters to meet the newest Marians - the priests of tomorrow and the fruit of their prayers and support."

Chris said plans call for having enough Marians assigned to help with pilgrims to accommodate any need. "We hope to tailor a day for you," he said.

Chris said plans call for the pilgrimage service program to be augmented by volunteers and Eden Hill employees, so that when the seminarians return to their studies in August, the program will continue.

There has never been a better time to visit the National Shrine in Stockbridge.

For contact information and directions, visit our special web page.

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