Our Lady of the Cape is blessed by Bishop J. Fred Colli at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Thunder Bay, Ont., in 2022. Photo from Marian Devotional Movement

Our Lady of the Cape to hit world stage

  • January 20, 2024

Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Que.’s Our Lady of the Cape Marian statue will be a lady of the hour at the 10th National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis this summer.

The upcoming congress, the first scheduled since June 1941, is being promoted as the summit event of the three-year Eucharistic Revival that has been underway in the U.S. Catholic Church since 2022. Organizers hope the July 17-21 gathering at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, will inspire thousands of Catholics to “experience profound, personal renewal through the power of Christ’s love.”

Details have yet to be unveiled about how and where Our Lady of the Cape will be showcased during the congress, which will feature many heavy hitters in the American Church. Speakers include Word on Fire’s Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike Schmitz, the priest behind the highly successful Bible in a Year and Catechism in a Year podcasts, and apostolic nuncio Cardinal Christophe Pierre.

On the way to Indianapolis, Canada’s Marian Devotional Movement (MDM) has planned a Eucharistic Congress Procession, which begins with a launch event with Bishop Martin Laliberté at Cap-de-la-Madeleine on July 4. Following the “St. Michael Route,” Our Lady of the Cape will also appear in Ottawa, Toronto, London and Sarnia, Ont., before crossing the border for engagements in Pontiac, Michigan, and finally Fort Wayne, Indiana, on July 14.

Tim Glemkowski, executive director of the National Eucharistic Congress, commended the MDM and the World Apostolate of Fatima for agreeing to carry out pilgrim statue processions of Our Lady of the Cape and Our Lady of Fatima respectively. In a letter, he stated both processions “will visibly demonstrate Our Blessed Mother’s accompaniment of this Eucharistic Revival journey the Church is undertaking collectively.”

“As was pointed out to us, the Marian Pilgrim Statue Processions and National Eucharistic Congress mirror the historic 1947 Marian Congress held in Ottawa, Canada, whereby one million souls participated in 40 days of procession to a five-day congress featuring uninterrupted opportunities to attend Holy Mass and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” wrote Glemkowski. 

Laliberté told The Catholic Register showcasing Our Lady of the Cape “is a great opportunity.”

“For me, it is very significant to see this pilgrim statue going to the United States,” said the Bishop of Trois-Rivières. “It is an opportunity not only to know better Our Lady of the Cape, but also to recognize the importance of Our Lady in our Church, not only Canada but our universal Church. This statue is a symbol of Mary, who accompanies and walks with us to show us the path that leads to her Son.”

Laliberté said it is “almost overwhelming to think about” how this shrine “that started so small” in the 1800s has grown so much in visibility in recent years to earn an invitation to the National Eucharistic Congress.

The MDM, guided by Ottawa-based couple Dennis and Angelina Girard, deserves credit for substantially expanding Our Lady of the Cape’s footprint across Canada and the United States over the past several years, said Laliberté. First, the MDM collaborated with award-winning Canadian Catholic filmmaker Kevin Dunn to produce the Bridge of Roses: The Story of Our Lady of the Cape documentary. This production illustrated the wondrous miracles performed in the presence of the shrine, including The Miracle of the Ice Bridge in 1879, and how it became a religious landmark visited by more than 400,000 believers annually.

Second, the MDM orchestrated an ambitious shrine tour across Canada, with some U.S. stops, in July 2022 in honour of Pope Francis’ penitential pilgrimage to Canada. Our Lady of the Cape appeared at the papal Mass at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on July 26.

Laliberté praised the MDM’s “zeal and passion” for Canada’s national Marian shrine.

“They broadened the horizons and pushed back the borders where Our Lady of the Cape could be known,” said Laliberté. “The Oblates were doing it in Quebec, Ontario and part of the northern United States. Now with the tour, they reached even places like Calgary and a lot of other places in the U.S. with a network of shrines. They are very instrumental in promoting devotion to, and knowledge of, Our Lady of the Cape.”

Canadians and Americans unable to directly attend the National Eucharistic Congress nor the procession beforehand can still participate in this journey in some fashion. The MDM is inviting Canadian and U.S. dioceses to host “Fill the Ark events” leading up to the congress.

The organization suggests that each event feature a Bridge of Roses screening, a recitation of the Holy Rosary, a distribution of blessed roses and an opportunity to pray and sign Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary slips and offer prayer intentions.

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