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Rise from the Ashes Pilgrimage | Unleashed

August 19, 2021

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In Marker 1.2 of Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron addresses that, “To speak of repentance is not fashionable today in a world that prefers to ignore sin, yet we who belong to Christ can testify that repentance is the way to forgiveness and freedom.” Pilgrim Joe Boggs discusses the penitential power of the Rise from the Ashes Pilgrimage — a seven-mile walking pilgrimage from St. Andre Bessette in Ecorse to the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit — and the key step of repentance as part of sharing the Good News.


Jesus, when he’s in the Gospel, when he calls on people to believe. He also calls upon them first to repent. So we really need to have repentant hearts. And that’s what this pilgrimage is all about. My name is Joe Boggs; I’m from Monroe, Michigan. Today we’re walking the seven-mile pilgrimage from St. Andre Bessette in Ecorse to St. Anne’s in Detroit. It’s called Rise From the Ashes.

This is just a penitential pilgrimage expressing our sorrow for our personal sins, but also the collective sins of the church locally. And we’re just enjoying this seven-mile very hot walk to Detroit. This is my first time joining the pilgrimage and I give myself a physical challenge every year. Hiking in the sun on concrete is a little different than what I normally would say I do.

It was all about suffering, sweating through those seven miles to Detroit and thinking about our own sinful nature and also the sins collectively that we’ve committed against people around us. We have these huge, tough issues that we hardly talk about and when you start talking about them truthfully and in charity, repentance is really a key part of the good news. And that’s what we’re delivering here, hopefully with this pilgrimage.

We’re four miles into our pilgrimage. We’re here at the fire engine number 29, just in Del Ray, just past actually Zug Island. We started with a little energy. This is no problem, but after a few miles and the heat, I did have to jump in the car for probably a mile and a half. It was tiring.

So we’re here at the Basilica now of Ste. Anne’s in Detroit, the second oldest continuing parish in the country. Now we made at the finish line, we feel good. It was physically challenging, but spiritually uplifting in the sense that it’s nice to connect with other Catholics and realize that we’re all struggling with similar questions and concerns.

This morning, when I was saying prayer, I actually said, “I’m not going to do it because it’s too hot. I am not going to it because this maybe a little too many miles.” And then I said, “You know what? It’s the best offer. So I’m going to offer it to God.” So we’re planning on doing next year, Rise From the Ashes Pilgrimage, the Third Annual one. We’re thinking of starting from Monroe. So it’s going to be a little bit longer, about 30 some miles. It’s a beautiful thing. We journey together. We talk together. We grow in faith together and we repent of our sins together.

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