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It’s that time of year again; the students are settling into classes, club events are beginning, and campus life is getting busy.  With the beginning of each new year comes new challenges, friendships, joys and struggles.  Yet as things change from year to year, there are certain traditions that remain strong.  One of the greatest traditions is University Ministry’s Pilgrimage retreat.  The Pilgrimage consists of a 7 mile hike through the beautiful Idaho wilderness to the Cataldo Mission, the oldest standing building in Idaho.  It is the only retreat that is open to all students, faculty, staff, alumni and family members.  This retreat is a great way to enjoy a journey, make new friends and learn about the history of the Jesuit presence in this northwest area, which is the reason for Gonzaga University’s founding.

The Pilgrimage is captured by students like Emily Gillingham who said, “Pilgrimage reinforces the strong sense of community that Gonzaga has. Events like Pilgrimage remind us how blessed we are to be at a place like Gonzaga.”  Another student, Elizabeth Slamkowski believes, “The hike builds up the community through people who might not have met otherwise.  It really is an amazing experience.”  Senior Matt Kiernan is also impressed by the tradition, sharing, “It is really remarkable that over 200 students wake up early on a Saturday to join in a walk of reflection, prayer, and friendship.  The closing Mass also draws a connection to the very first Jesuits and allows the current students to join together in the same celebration in the same place.  It is a powerful experience.”

If you want to be a part of the Pilgrimage experience we can always accommodate more people, and all are welcome.  This year the Pilgrimage will take place on Saturday September 18, and registration forms are available at www.gonzaga.edu/um.  Hope to see you there!

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