Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Guadalupe Shrine
We are proud to present to you in this Year of Faith an opportunity for you to make a Pilgrimage of Faith to the three approved Marian shrines in Wisconsin: the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Hubertus, the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse.
During this Year, Pope Benedict XVI invites us to turn with particular devotion to Mary, model of the Church, who “shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues” (Lumen Gentium, 65). “Therefore, every initiative that helps the faithful to recognize the special role of Mary in the mystery of salvation, love her and follow her as a model of faith and virtue is to be encouraged. To this end it would be proper to organize pilgrimages, celebrations and gatherings at the major Marian shrines” (CDF, Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith, 3).
Our Holy Father describes the way in which Mary is an exemplar of the Faith for all followers of her Son: “By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion (cf. Lk 1:38). Visiting Elizabeth, she raised her hymn of praise to the Most High for the marvels He worked in those who trust Him (cf. Lk 1:46-55). With joy and trepidation she gave birth to her only Son, keeping her virginity intact (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Trusting in Joseph, her husband, she took Jesus to Egypt to save Him from Herod’s persecution (cf. Mt 2:13-15). With the same faith, she followed the Lord in His preaching and remained with Him all the way to Golgotha (cf. Jn 19:25-27). By faith, Mary tasted the fruits of Jesus’ resurrection, and treasuring every memory in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), she passed them on to the Twelve assembled with her in the Upper Room to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:1-4)” (Porta Fidei, 13).
“The Blessed Virgin Mary continues to ‘go before’ the People of God. Her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the Church, for individuals and for communities, for peoples and nations, and in a sense for all humanity” (Redemptoris Mater, 6). She is the star of the third millennium, just as, at the beginning of the Christian era, she was the dawn that preceded Jesus on the horizon of history. Mary, in fact, was born chronologically before Christ and gave birth to Him, introducing Him into our human events. We turn to her so that she may continue to lead us to Christ and to the Father, even in moments of doubt, crisis, silence and suffering.
We have designated these three Marian shrines as places of pilgrimage to obtain the Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith. Please consider making a pilgrimage of faith with Mary, to pray, as did the Apostles: “Lord increase our faith” (Lk 17:5).
Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Most Reverend David L. Ricken
Bishop of Green Bay
Most Reverend William P. Callahan
Bishop of La Crosse
All three are well worth the trip. There's a really nice pdf on the site that could be put in a parish bulletin or emailed to a group.