CULLMAN—Young adults from St. Francis de Sales Parish and six other parishes made a pilgrimage Saturday to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, part of the monastery founded by Mother Angelica of EWTN fame, and to the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama. The pilgrimage was organized by the Atlanta chapter of Juventutem International, which organizes monthly events for young adults ages 18 to 35 who have a devotion to or an interest in the traditional Latin Mass. Each month's activities include both a spiritual dimension and a social dimension.
"It was peaceful, it was beautiful. The silence especially spoke to me," said Tristan Smith, 25, who just moved to Atlanta from Washington, D.C.
The group assembled for Mass at 7 am at St. Francis de Sales, received the special blessing for embarking on a pilgrimage, then drove with their chaplain, Fr. James M. Smith, FSSP, assistant pastor of St. Francis de Sales, in a 15-passenger van and four cars.
The group heard a conference from Dr. David Anders, host of Called to Communion on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network, which is a show for non-Catholics. He spoke to them about the importance of living a rightly ordered life, especially in marriage, and how he discovered that that was possible by following the teachings of the Catholic Church. Dr. Anders recently published a book, The Catholic Church Saved My Marriage.
After lunch at Luna's BBQ in Hanceville, the group returned to the shrine to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the gloriously beautiful church, then recited the Divine Mercy chaplet with the cloistered sisters who live at the shrine. After some free time and a visit to the shrine's gift shop, they drove to Cullman to tour the Ave Maria Grotto.
While they drove, they heard a reading from Humility of Heart by Fr. Cajetan de Bergamo, and sang the Rosary.
On Sept. 21, Juventutem Atlanta plans to attend a baseball game at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, who at press time remain in first place. Juventutem Atlanta organizer, Bryan Lester expects at least 20 people for next month's event, but urges all those planning to come to reserve their $15 tickets now before the Braves' dynamic pricing system causes the price to increase.