The love of the Eternal Father in unity, in family, in church life

With the theme “We are the family of the Eternal Father,” the 2014 Pilgrimage promotes unity among devotees from Brazil and from the whole world.

DESTAQUE_AMOR_DO_PAI_EWTERNO_21_06_2014“This love has no way to be explained.” In this sentence the retired lady Georgina Alves, from Contagem (MG), shows the feeling that thousands of devotees have when it comes to devotion to the Divine Eternal Father. All this love, felt throughout the year, is driven and has its strength increased during the traditional pilgrimage of the Divine Eternal Father, in Trindade (GO).

The great Feast in praise of the Divine is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday of July, preceded by a novena, totaling ten days of festivities. Thus, in 2014 the fiest takes place between June 27 and July 6, with the theme “We are the family of the Eternal Father.” It is expected that about 2.5 million pilgrims pass through Trindade in the ten-day festival.

The theme chosen for this year, in the context of evangelization, is part of the current themes of the Church and will be discussed at the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, convoked by Pope Francis in October, at the Vatican.

“This year the theme of the festival devotes all that we experience, the love of the Eternal Father in unity, in the family and in the Church life. Living with relatives in the community, among fellow believers, reflects the relationship we have with the Father as his beloved sons and daughters. Pope Francis has also addressed to this topic. For all that – the strengthening of devotion and involvement of devotees –, the faithful can expect a feast very beautiful and full of love and faith.”, said the rector of the Sanctuary Basilica, Father Robson de Oliveira.

The 2014 Pilgrimage will bring some news on its schedule. Besides what is now traditional at the event, devotees can participate in the prayer of the Rosary, which is going to happen daily in the Main Church, at 1pm, and the Sanctuary Basilica, at 10am and 2pm. And yet, within the special programming on July 2, the 1st Pilgrimage of Solidarity will take place, leaving at 3pm, from the Clover of Goiania towards the Sanctuary. The Pilgrimage of the Military happens again during the festival, on friday, the 4th of July.

Pilgrims of the Eternal Father

Regardless of age and origin the festival attracts thousands of pilgrims to Trindade. Most of the devotees enjoy the festival specially to be thankful for the blessings granted by the Eternal Father.

An example is the devout quoted at the beginning of this matter, Georgina Alves, from Minas Gerais, who has come to Trindade for six consecutive years to share the devotion and acknowledgement of the blessings of the Father: “I just have to be thankful. I have been watching the novenas with Father Robson for many years. To go to Trindade during the Pilgrimage is my moment to thank for all the blessings that the Eternal Father has poured into my life and in the lives of my family.”

Each devotee has their special reason to go seek the Eternal Father. And there are many stories of devotion and love that make up much of the Pilgrimage. Ana Paula Simon is 107 years and in over 50 she has been present in all pilgrimages. Resident of the city of Jataí (GO), her story of devotion began with her husband who was a cowboy and one day fell into a river with the cattle. Submerged into the water, he sought help from the Divine Eternal Father, and like a miracle he was saved along with all the cattle. Since then they have become devotees of the Eternal Father having the festival as a prominent event in the annual calendar of the family.

With age already quite advanced, but also with great lucidity, Ana Paula comes to Trindade with the help of her grandson Alvaro Pereira da Costa who accompanies her throughout the pilgrimage. “My grandma follows a ritual on the feast of Trindade. She always likes to go to the Main Church, to pass by the image of the Divine Eternal Father, then go to the Sanctuary Basilica and finally attend to the Mass on Sunday morning. She experiences it all throughout the festival, but these four things can not be missed in any way,” he says.

The publicist Erica Nogueira is an evangelical protestant and during the festival she goes through about 18km of the Pilgrims Highway (GO- 060) walking to the Basilica in thanks to the Eternal Father. For the publicist, God is one and only one, although she belongs to another religion, there is no impediment to experience the love of the Eternal Father. “Whether I identify myself more with the evangelical protestant religion, I feel happy to make the pilgrimage from Goiania to Trindade and also to attend to the Mass at the Sanctuary Basilica” she says.

There are still those pilgrims that help keep alive the origins of the pilgrimage, for example the pilgrimage tradition with bullock carts. As is the case of the carter João Batista Pereira, from the city of Palmeiras de Goiás (GO). He is part of an entourage of bullock carts that have been making the path towards the Capital of Faith for nearly 20 years. “When we arrive in Trindade, we feel a whole lot of emotions. First, thanks for the graces received to be healthy enough to have even gotten there. When we see the tower of the church, we feel it in the air. It’s very exciting,” he says.

The Pilgrimage

During the ten days of the festival, the event is an extensive program specially prepared. Altogether, 100 Masses, 46 novenas and 30 prayers of the rosary will be held, as well as processions, vigils and daybreak prayers. Hundreds of baptisms are performed and thousands of devotees are also seen in confessions. And youth and couples gatherings, procession of carters, militaries, revelers, troopers, knights, muladeiros and other devotees occur. For this to take place, many priests from other communities are invited to attend the event.

The Pilgrimage of Trindade is now the largest religious event in the Midwest of the country, the second largest in Brazil and the largest party in the world dedicated to the Divine Eternal Father. Every year, many devotees walk the 18Km path of the Pilgrims Highway (GO-060), between the municipalities of Goiânia and Trindade, to the Sanctuary Basilica, as a way to pay promises, ask for favors and to thank for the blessings achieved. Many pilgrims also come from several other cities and states, by car, bus, horse riding and oxcarts.

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