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Traditional pilgrimage Tuesday night

Published 9:17pm Monday, December 10, 2012

Motorists should be on the lookout for pedestrians Tuesday night as hundreds of people make a yearly pilgrimage to Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Washington.
“The pilgrimage is part of a religious tradition of Mexico,” said Father Arturo Cabra. A tradition, he said, in which people walk to Mexico City, to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. Over the Friday and Saturday of December 11 to 12, 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition of Virgin Mary to a peasant, Juan Diego.
In Washington, the tradition began eight years ago with a small group of people seeking to recreate the pilgrimage.
“Through the years we got more people, more friends (to join),” Cabra said. “It has grown — now it is a county event.”
At 6 p.m. tonight, participants will start their 9-mile walk from Poorman’s Flea Market on U.S. Highway 264 West to Mother of Mercy on West Ninth Street.
First Sergeant Brandon Craft of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol urges drivers to be cautious. Craft said the area is heavily travelled at that time (6 p.m. until 11 p.m.) and troopers will be on duty, trailing walkers with lights flashing.
“We absolutely support the tradition,” said Craft. “We do have a safety concern, though.”
“It’s a beautiful tradition—walking, of looking for God, looking for the center of our life,” Cabra explained.
Cabra said he expects 200 to 300 people to take part in the walk and the 11 p.m. service at Mother of Mercy, which will include singing, praying and a mariachi band.

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