Thursday was the first day of the 2023 Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion in Wisconsin. Between the Western, American, and Federal Associations, there are over 200 pilgrims in attendance. Formerly known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, this shrine is the site of the only Marian apparition in the United Stated approved by the Catholic Church. The year 2023 marks ten years of the Order of Malta traveling to this unique, holy place.
The Our Lady of Champion pilgrimage commenced with an opening Mass at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral celebrated by Fr. John Girotti. Later in the evening, H.M.E.H. Fra’ John Dunlap, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, was invited to the podium and, on behalf of the Order of Malta, accepted a plaque that contained fragments from the maple and hemlock trees where the Blessed Mother appeared to Adele in 1859. We are so grateful to have our Grand Master join us for a second pilgrimage in the first few months of his new role.
The wording on the plaque says:
These fragments of the maple and hemlock trees between which Our Lady of Champion appeared are presented to the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta on the occasion of the Grand Master, H.E. Frá John T. Dunlap’s, participation in the USA Associations’ Pilgrimage to Champion, August 2023