December 6, 2019

Archbishop Thompson to lead pilgrimage to eastern Canadian shrines

The Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, Canada, is one of many cathedrals, basilicas and shrines where those joining Archbishop Charles C. Thompson on a pilgrimage to the eastern Canadian shrines on July 15-21, 2020, will visit and participate in celebrations of the Mass. (Submitted photo)

The Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, Canada, is one of many cathedrals, basilicas and shrines where those joining Archbishop Charles C. Thompson on a pilgrimage to the eastern Canadian shrines on July 15-21, 2020, will visit and participate in celebrations of the Mass. (Submitted photo)

By Natalie Hoefer

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson will lead a pilgrimage to the eastern Canadian shrines on July 15-21, 2020.

He says he “became familiar with the various places on our pilgrimage” while earning his master’s degree in canon law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, from 1990-1992.

“During that time, I had a few occasions to travel to Montreal and Quebec City,” the archbishop says. “The sacred places that we will be visiting—such as St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal and the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre just outside Quebec City—are internationally known places of pilgrimage and worship.”

Archbishop Thompson appreciates the “beautiful scenery in, around and between these cities,” and says the “history surrounding the cities and other places is also fascinating.”

Encompassing the holy sites, scenery and history the archbishop references, the pilgrimage will include daily Mass at shrines, cathedrals and basilicas in the region—including Canada’s first, second and third largest churches—as well as outings such as a light show, a river cruise, sightseeing and more.

The journey begins with a morning flight from Indianapolis to Montreal on July 15, where pilgrims will spend two full days.

Begun as a missionary settlement and fur trading center in the 1500s, Montreal is now the second most populous city in Canada. It is located on Montreal Island, the largest of 234 islands comprising the Hochelaga Archipelago near the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers.

Among other activities, the first day includes a private Mass and guided tour at the Basilica Notre Dame de Montreal, followed by an evening light show at the basilica.

On day two, pilgrims will visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory and national shrine in Montreal, where a private Mass will be celebrated. A minor basilica, St. Joseph’s Oratory is the largest Catholic Church in Canada.

Construction of the first church on the site began in 1904 by Holy Cross Brother André Bessette. Known for his ability to heal, Brother André is said to have performed many miracles. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified him in 1982. In October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI declared Blessed Brother André a saint.

On the second day, pilgrims will also take in the Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde, “Cathedral of Mary, Queen of the World,” a minor basilica and Canada’s third largest church.

Before departing for Quebec City on the third day, a private Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Cape Shrine in Montreal, followed by a guided tour of the site. That afternoon, pilgrims will enjoy a walking tour of Old Quebec City, home base for the remainder of the pilgrimage.

Old Quebec was founded as a Catholic colony in 1608. The Recollet Order arrived in 1615, followed in 1625 by the Jesuits, who soon established a college there. The walls surrounding the Old City were built in the 1600s, and the oldest building remaining within those walls is an Ursuline chapel completed in 1642.

On the fourth day of the pilgrimage, a private Mass will be celebrated at the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré, the second oldest pilgrimage site in North America and the second largest church in Canada. It is dedicated to Saint Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is known for containing an exact replica of Michelangelo’s famous Pieta statue.

The afternoon of the fourth day will be filled with scenery and sights as pilgrims visit the old region of Côte de Beaupré, the renowned Cooper art museum, the 276-foot tumble of Montmorency Falls, and the Isle of Orleans.

Pilgrims will stay in Old Quebec on day five, with the only scheduled planned time being Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Quebec, the oldest church in Canada and the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Quebec.

The rest of day five, pilgrims are free to explore the beautiful, well-preserved city. With its narrow brick streets, quaint cafés and shops, not to mention its many historic buildings, Old Quebec is often referred to as the “Little Europe of Canada.”

The chance to explore the many sites of Old Quebec will continue through the morning of day six. Then pilgrims will enjoy a sightseeing cruise on the St. Lawrence River, so pivotal to the city’s history and economy.

The day will end with a farewell dinner in Old Quebec, and on day seven pilgrims will take their return flight to Indianapolis.

The cost per person, based on a minimum of 35 paid travelers, is $3,169 per person for double occupancy, or $3,925 for single occupancy.

The cost includes estimated roundtrip flight transportation from Indianapolis to Montreal and from Quebec City to Indianapolis; deluxe motor coach transportation; a bilingual (English and French) tour leader; entrance to pilgrimage sites with guides and four private Masses; sightseeing and admission fees; two nights hotel accommodations in Montreal and four nights hotel accommodations in Quebec City; daily breakfast at the hotels; three dinners, with coffee and tea; post departure trip insurance purchased on behalf of the group; hotel porterage; all taxes (local, provincial and federal) and tips on included items; onsite services of a Grueninger Travel Group travel director; and all driver tips.

Prices are based on current transportation fuel charges and taxes/fees. Any changes in these costs, over which Grueninger Travel has no control, will be passed on to travelers.

Not included in the cost are personal purchases, lunches, snacks, drinks at included meals, and any other meals not included in the itinerary.

For more information or to register, go to, call Grueninger Travel at 317-581-1122, or e-mail them at Questions can also be directed to Rita Maguire, archdiocesan coordinator of special events, at 317-236-1428, 800-382-9836 ext. 1428, or by e-mail at

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