Auriesville injustice: "Rome will hear of this"

June 13, 2014
Source: District of the USA

A report on the SSPX's Auriesville Pilgrimage of Tradition which this year encountered some further difficulties.

The image above (courtesy of Fr. John Young), shows Bishop Bernard Fellay blessing the numerous pilgrims on Saturday, June 7th, during the annual Pilgrimage of Tradition to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York. Holding the megaphone for the bishop is Fr. Michael Goldade, the pilgrimage organizer, who has provided some news about the event.

A common problem that has arisen of late at various pilgrimage shrines in the United States is the prohibition against entering the grounds to pray, let alone the ability to use the facilities there. Such actions, clearly betray a deliberate animosity towards Tradition, for these same shrines often bend-over-backwards to be ecumenically-hospitable to non-Catholic groups. Such a problem has been ongoing at the Auriesville site for several years, where the SSPX's pilgrims have been prohibited from having Mass in the Coliseum, the name of the shrine's circular chapel.

As Fr. Goldade reports, the shrine's administrator decided to "up the ante" this year by forbidding the use of the shrine's parking lot—and apparently under a false pretext. Having witnessed this injustice to the Catholic faithful who walked 10 miles to pray at the North American Martyrs Shrine, Bishop Fellay declared he would be protesting this treatment to the Roman authorities.

Despite the negative attitude exhibited towards the pilgrims, the pilgrimage was nonetheless full of hope, joy and many graces. Following Fr. Goldade's report, we offer for our readers' edification some images from some previous years of the Auriesville Pilgrimage—we hope to offer a photo gallery from this year's event soon.

An Auriesville Pilgrimage report from Fr. Goldade

The Auriesville pilgrimage of June 7th, which had as its intention the Rosary Crusade, went well with Bishop Fellay and a little over 600 pilgrims in attendance. The weather was perfect. There was a bit of conflict with the shrine which upset our plans on the very morning of the pilgrimage.

Nearly 50 vehicles of pilgrims had shown up on the shrine grounds—as they have done now for 21 years—when the Jesuit administrator of the shrine, Fr. George Belgarde, ordered all SSPX pilgrims off of the site.

An officer from the sheriff’s department and Police Chief Greg Culik were called and intervened. The sheriff said that he could not order the cars to be removed [see some images], however he advised that they should be relocated because tow trucks could be called by the shrine's authorities.

The reasons given by Fr. Belgarde for this prohibition were:

  1. the SSPX is not within the Church;
  2. there were three other pilgrimages expected that day.

Officer Culik later observed though that there were no more than four cars in parking lot throughout the day!

There seems to be unjust discrimination towards the Society, as the shrine had no problem in selling the former Jesuit Retreat House (located just next to the shrine) to a group of Buddhists and has also hosted pow-wows for Native Americans. Yet neither group is remotely within the Church.

A letter had been sent to Bishop Scharfenberger, the newly-elected Bishop of Albany, requesting the use of the Coliseum and shrine property, but no response was ever received. A telephone call was also made on Friday, April 25 to Fr. George Belgarde requesting a phone conversation and notifying him of our pilgrimage.

Bishop Fellay, who witnessed the action of the shrine's administrator, commented that Rome would hear about this injustice.