Pilgrimage for racial justice promotes ‘walking and talking’ as the Body of Christ

Pilgrims walked east on Muhammad Ali Boulevard during the third annual Pilgrimage for Racial Justice, Sept. 24, 2022. The fourth pilgrimage will take place this year on Sept. 15 and 16. (Record File Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Individuals, parishes and Catholic schools are invited to attend the fourth annual “Walking Together: Louisville Pilgrimage for Racial Justice and Reconciliation” Sept.15-16.

It will feature a four-mile pilgrimage from West Louisville to downtown Louisville and a presentation by Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre.

The pilgrimage is about engaging in the “biblical hospitality of walking together and talking together,” said Janice Mulligan, the associate director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry. It’s about “showing solidarity, what it means to be the Body of Christ, to give a visual witness that there are a number of people who want to find a way to be better and do better in terms of this issue” of racial justice.

The two-day event, organized by the multicultural ministry office and Modern Catholic Pilgrim, will kick off Friday evening, Sept. 15, at the Flaget Center with dinner at 6 p.m. and a presentation by Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre. He will discuss how young people can confront issues of racial justice in their communities. Though the archbishop’s message will address youth and young adults, all are invited to attend, Mulligan said.

The next day, a four-mile pilgrimage will depart from Christ the King Church at 724 S. 44th St., after a short prayer service and blessing. Participants will walk east on Broadway and stop for prayer at St. Martin de Porres and St. Augustine churches.

Last year, pilgrims made a shorter walk from the Cathedral of the Assumption to Presentation Academy — about 1.2 miles.

“The desire to do something longer has always been there,” said Mulligan. “Hopefully it’ll have the feel of a true pilgrimage.” 

The parishes on the pilgrimage’s route are significant to the history of Black Catholics in the archdiocese, Mulligan noted. 

St. Augustine, 1310 West Broadway, was founded in 1870, seven years after the emancipation proclamation, making it one of the oldest African American parishes in the country, Mulligan said. 

Christ the King, St. Martin de Porres and Immaculate Heart of Mary churches have had “strong and long Black Catholic traditions,” Mulligan said, noting that Immaculate Heart of Mary’s location at 1545 Louis Coleman Jr. Drive, prevents the pilgrimage from stopping there.

The walk will end at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville with prayer, music, food and fellowship.

Participants will be invited to share their “witness and experiences meant to convey how far we’ve come and how God has blessed us and guided us,” Mulligan said. “We want people to leave feeling hopeful and inspired to take action.”More details about the pilgrimage and sign-up information can be found at www.moderncatholicpilgrim.com/pilgrimage-calendar/walking-together-louisville. For additional information, call the Office of Multicultural Ministry at 471-2146.

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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