May is a very special time for Catholics around the world. The month of May is a month dedicated to Mother Mary everywhere, including the Parish of St. Antonius Padua Mbeling, Ruteng Diocese, Flores, NTT, Indonesia. On this seventh Easter Sunday, May 29, 2022, the parishioners of St. Antonius Padua Mbeling have just finished holding a Marian pilgrimage that has never been done before, namely the Marian Pilgrimage to the Cave of Maria Ratu Semesta Alam, in Golo Lobos. This pilgrimage is a spiritual activity that was just initiated this year, coinciding with the Montrortan Asia Oceania Continental Mission Year, and the declaration of the Pastoral Year of Holistic Tourism in Ruteng Diocese. This Marian pilgrimage involves all members of the parish pastoral council and parish finance council Management, Parish and Regional Catholic Youth, and invites all Mbeling parishioners from every existing station and region, village security, and donors and service providers who provide support to the Parish.
The Marian pilgrimage was opened at 15.00 after the parishioners had finished celebrating the Sunday Eucharist in the parish and the station. So all the people began to rush to prepare themselves to go to this pilgrimage site which is in the central area of the Parish. The flow of this pilgrimage is divided into two points. The pilgrims who came from the station and the area near the city, a lowland area, gathered at the first point, namely in the village of Rehes in the courtyard of the Mbaru Gendang (traditional house). Then the pilgrims who came from the station and the highlands and hills gathered at the second point in the village of Ntangis. After all the people gathered at each point, right at. 16.00 WITA the pilgrims numbering in the hundreds of people started their walking journey towards Golo Lobos hill, in the middle between the two villages.
This pilgrimage is said to be the Marial pilgrimage because the pilgrims explore the 14 stations of the way of the Cross that have been prepared in advance by reciting the typical Montfortan Marial prayer of the way of the Cross. In the prayer for Mary’s Way of the Cross, the congregation contemplates each stop on the way of the Cross with the inner disposition of the Virgin Mary herself. After the pilgrimage journey through these 14 stops for 45 minutes, the pilgrims from two groups met at the top of the Golo Lobos hill to pray together for the last stop. On this hill, the Cave of Mary Queen of the Universe is located. After resting for a while and making preparations, all the pilgrims attended the Eucharist at the climax of the closing of the Marian month. Parish Pastor of St. Antonius Padua Mbeling, Fr. Kasmir Friday, SMM said in his homily that to become a strong believer, everyone can and must imitate the pilgrimage spirit of Our Lady who visited Elisabeth. In Mary, the hearts of the people are formed into individuals who are ready to sacrifice themselves and take risks for God which is manifested in active participation in every Parish Pastoral program. As Saint Montfort, "Whoever does not dare to take risks for God, he has never done anything meaningful for God".
Covered by the warmth of the evening and the friendly weather that afternoon, as well as the enthusiasm of all the pilgrims present, it is a sign that faith is growing and God's blessings are overflowing the lives of every people. All thanks to Jesus in Mary, all thanks to Mary in Jesus, all thanks to God alone.
Fr. Nikodemus Hemiawan, SMM