By Audry Lynch
There was heavy rain on March 31 but it didn’t stop participants on their first pilgrimage to the shrine of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney at Church of the Ascension in Saratoga.
It was a celebration of Founder’s Day because Father McGivney is the Founder of the Knights of Columbus. The new shrine is only the second one in the nation honoring Father McGivney; the only other one is at his gravesite in Connecticut.
The pilgrimage route covered three miles from Queen of Apostles Church to Church of the Ascension.
The walk was hosted by St. Francis of Assisi Council 4981 and joined by the San Jose Chapter, Portola Assembly 49, Pope John Paul II Assembly 2939, the newest council, St. Clare of Assisi, families and friends.
After the pilgrims arrived, Father Joe Galang, pastor of Ascension, gave a blessing at the shrine, followed by Mass attended by pilgrims, friends and family members.
During his homily, Father Galang celebrated the rain. He said, “The downpour was a blessing. The water, a gift from nature, energized our journey, lifted and blessed our spirits.”
He quizzed the assembled worshipers on the many accomplishments of the K of C, “the largest men’s fraternal organization in the country.”
President of the Women’s Auxiliary of Bishop O’Dowd Council 3474, Diana Seixas, led the women in active participation in the ceremony. They served as ushers and bearers of the gifts.
Seixas handed a check for $200 from the auxiliary and a check for $300 from the Bishop O’Dowd Council to Father Galang for the beautification of the shrine area. Music for the Mass was provided by the Ascension Fil-Am Choir.
At the Mass there were two announcements: The K of C Supreme Office in Connecticut will be sending Father Galang a second class relic of Venerable Father McGivney for use at the shrine.
In addition, Father Galang has been elected Chaplain of the Year for the San Jose Chapter. This distinction makes him eligible to be a candidate for Chaplain of the Year at the K of C California state convention this month.
After Mass the pilgrims and friends enjoyed a BBQ lunch at Worner Hall, hosted by Ron Schoengold, Advocate of Council 4981.