Lenten Pilgrimages to Begin in March

By Colleen Rowan

WEST VIRGINIA—With a focus on penance, prayer and preaching, the diocese will offer a series of Lenten pilgrimages again this year for Catholics around the state. Organized by the diocesan Office of Worship and Sacraments, the pilgrimages will present the opportunity for Catholics to come together in prayer during the season of Lent.

“This gives people an opportunity to come to a special place that is not far from home and spend an evening in prayer and reflection,” said Bernadette McMasters Kime, director of the diocesan Office of Worship and Sacraments. “We’re encouraging people to come together in the spirit of prayer and to make this part of their Lenten journey.” Kime encourages members of the same parish to plan to attend as parish community. “In other words, parishes should consider making this as part of their parish Lenten activities.” Each of the pilgrimages will begin with the opportunity to receive the sacrament of penance at 6 p.m. with various priests in the area available to hear confessions, and Mass will follow at 7 p.m. Each pilgrimage will also feature a guest homilist.

The first pilgrimage will be held at the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston March 4 with guest homilist Father John V. Di Bacco, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Star City. The second will be held at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling March 11 with guest homilist Father Paul H. Colloton, OSFS, D.Min., a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Wilmington-Philadelphia Province. The last will be held at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown March 18 with Father James W. Sichko, a priest of the Diocese of Lexington, Ky.

Father Di Bacco attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in chemistry from Wheeling College and a Master of Arts in applied spirituality from the University of San Francisco in California. He was ordained a priest May 13, 1967, by Bishop Joseph H. Hodges at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling. Father Di Bacco has served in five parishes in West Virginia including Immaculate Conception Parish in Clarksburg, Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling, St. Theresa Parish in Morgantown and St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg. Father Di Bacco was also the director of the Seminary House of Studies which was located in Wheeling. He is well-known throughout the diocese for his passion for the liturgy and the quality of his preaching.

Father Colloton serves as associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Elkton, Md., and St. Jude Mission, North East, Md. For a little over three years Father Colloton served as the director of Continuing Education for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM). His nearly 45 years experience in pastoral ministry include service as a liturgist, musician, spiritual director, presider, preacher, clinician, retreat director, author and ministry to and with people living with HIV/AIDS.

Father Sichko was ordained to the priesthood May 23, 1998. He studied theology at Sacred Heart School of Theology and before that, completed his undergraduate work at New England Conservatory of Music in vocal performance. Father Sichko travels throughout the United States giving missions, retreats and days of recollection. He is the author of “Among Friends: Stories from the Journey.” Father Sichko serves as pastor of St. Mark Parish in Richmond, Ky., which includes an elementary/middle school, Hispanic ministry and a Newman Center on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. For more information, contact the Office of Worship and Sacraments at (304) 233-0880, ext. 289.