On May 7th, thousands will gather in De Pere, Wisconsin at the National Shrine of St. Joseph to make the 21-mile trek to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion. This journey is known as the Walk to Mary, and over the past few years, it has become a pilgrimage like no other for its participants, proving that nothing is impossible with God.
In 2009, a friend of Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman’s told him about the shrine to Our Lady of Good Help that was nearby. After finally getting a chance to visit it, Father Rocky said he was “immediately” convinced of its legitimacy. After some time passed, while Father was hosting a conference for some men, he asked them to pray about the possibility of a pilgrimage walk to the shrine in Champion.
On December 8th, 2010, Bishop David Ricken formally approved the apparitions of Our Lady of Good Help, making it the first Church-approved apparition in the United States. Pat Deprey and Tom Schmit, the co-founders of the Walk to Mary, and others met to discuss the possibility of making the pilgrimage a reality. They finally decided on the 21-mile walk from De Pere to Champion and in May of 2013, the first Walk to Mary took place.
Every year, more and more people come from more and more places. In its second year, the Walk to Mary had about 500 participants, the third year had about 800-900, and in its sixth year, it had 2,100 participants who came from 27 different states.
“And what people take away from the pilgrimage largely depends on what they bring to it,” said Father Rocky. “And I encourage people to bring their intentions, to realize that with God’s grace, nothing’s impossible. And God can give us miracles of transformation in our own life: saving marriages and saving lives and getting a second chance. Because as Christians, we believe not only in forgiveness and redemption, but we believe in second chances. We don’t have to live in the past.”
Learn More by visiting WalktoMary.com
Register now for Walk to Mary
The Annual 2022 Walk to Mary will take place on Saturday, May 7th, beginning at the National Shrine of St. Joseph. If 21 miles sounds like a lot, there are also several options to join the walk at different points, including the two-mile ‘Walk with the Children” for families. Hope to see you on May 7, 2022 for the Walk to Mary!
If you want to see what the route looks like and all the various starting points you can use, please download the map.
Walk to Mary Route Map – PDF Download