Argentinean bishop calls pilgrimage a 'prayer of the body'

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Bishop Oscar Ojea of San Isidro, Argentina is inviting Catholics to join in the upcoming Oct. 6 youth pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, which annually gathers some one million people.

“The pilgrimage to Lujan is a prayer of the body,” the bishop said. “Our body prays when we go to Our Lady, our fatigue is a prayer.”

In a message sent to EWTN News on Sept. 25, Bishop Ojea recalled that he was 15 years old when he took part in the pilgrimage for the first time. He attended with a friend “to pray for my vocation.”

“It is very beautiful to see how at every hour of the night the pilgrims arrive after a long journey, touch the statue of the Virgin and many of them go to confession. They are very powerful confessions,” Bishop Ojea said.

He noted that theme for this year is, “Mother, help us to work for justice,” and coincides with the bishops' desire for an end to poverty as the country approaches its bicentennial celebration.

Bishop Ojea also encouraged local Catholics to pray “with confidence in our mother and to offer her once again this prayer of our bodies, this fatigue, this journeying together for love of her so that she will continue to protect the Argentinean people and remain at their side, as she wished to remain always with us.”

He also praised those who have been providing support and assistance to those on pilgrimage, especially by providing food and water. 

“That is where I experience the strength of the community, that I am not alone, and that also means experiencing a part of the life of the Church,” he said.

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