Marietta Basilica part of statue pilgrimage

Photo provided by Tammi Bradley A youth conference held in October with Bishop Jeffrey Monforton included a Procession March that will be similar to the event coming up at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption on June 24.

MARIETTA — A beloved symbol of faith on June 24 will be at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption as the Immaculate Heart of Mary makes her pilgrimage through the parishes of the Diocese of Steubenville.

The statue is traveling to Marietta after Nelsonville, Carrollton, Steubenville and Adena and the Marietta stop marks the end of the Year of Reconsecration of the Diocese of Steubenville to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It will include a Marian procession and the Reconsecration Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary.

“I am very much looking forward to it,” said Joe Augenstein, 74, of Marietta, a parishioner since 1961. “I hope to see a big crowd and other parishioners from within the diocese. It is an honor that we will have our bishop here to help us reconfirm our commitment to our patron saint, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Jeffrey Monforton serves the Diocese of Steubenville, which includes 14 counties in the east, southeast and southern part of the state. Washington County parishes include the Basilica, Our Lady of Mercy in Lowell, St. John in Churchtown, St. Ambrose in Little Hocking, St. Henry in Lower Salem and St. Bernard in Beverly.

“We will have buses and hope to have 500 people,” said Sister Mary Brigid Callan, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Steubenville. “Marietta is so lovely and a nice central location. Also, the Basilica is one of — if not the — crown jewels in the diocese.”

The event will kick off 9:30 a.m. with a Grand Marian Procession beginning at St. Mary School, 320 Fourth St. Catholic schools, religious communities, lay organizations, Catholic ministries, Marian Solidalities and First Communicants are invited to attend.

Others who are not processing may gather at the Basilica for prayers and hymns as they await the procession. Monforton will then lead the Mass.

Mary will be mounted on a platform and carried through the streets of Marietta.

The statue originated at Nelson Fine Art and Gifts, Steubenville. Artists crafted the heart for the large fiberglass statue and built a litter on which Mary will be carried and a case in which she will be placed when transported between churches.

“St. Mary Catholic School will have students and staff present to be a part of the procession march,” said Tammi Bradley, marketing manager for St. Mary School. “We will have all age ranges from Montessori preschool through eighth grade and we will also hope to have alumni join us as well.”

Augenstein said he encourages everyone to attend as it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“There is a chance that it could be years before something like this happens again,” he said.