TACOMA – When pilgrims arrive at the Northwest Detention Center for an outdoor Mass May 11, four crosses painted different colors will be placed together in a special stand.
The event is the culmination of the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Walking and Witnessing prayer walk that began April 29 to show solidarity with immigrant families. The four crosses — red, white, yellow and black — represent pilgrims coming from around the archdiocese, said Joe Cotton, pastoral outreach director for the Archdiocese of Seattle.
The pilgrimage began in Vancouver and Bellingham April 29, followed by an eastern leg that started in Kirkland May 4. Even though there technically isn’t a western route, there is a cross for the west because “we wanted the people on the peninsula to be represented,” Cotton explained. The crosses and stand were made by parishioners at Church of the Assumption Parish in Bellingham, he added.
Crosses from the northern (red), eastern (yellow) and western (black) pilgrimages joined together at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in West Seattle on the ninth day of the Walking and Witnessing pilgrimage. They will be joined by the white cross from the southern route at the May 11 Mass outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Photo: Courtesy Catholic Community Services Facebook page
Each day, pilgrims walked from one church to the next (transportation was required for some of the longer distances). Prayer, food and fellowship were on hand at each stop, and many parishes offered overnight accommodations. Pilgrims could walk one leg or the whole route; those not able to walk could welcome pilgrims at each parish or pray in solidarity with the walkers.
Cotton walked the first leg of the northern route, which began at Church of the Assumption and ended three miles away at Sacred Heart Parish in Bellingham. About 100 people attended Mass at Assumption and more than 80 walked the route to Sacred Heart, according to a Facebook post by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, one of the sponsors.
“There was a lot of really beautiful energy and people really came out for it and were really willing to show their love and support,” Cotton said.
“We got a lot of honks and waves and people cheering us on from the streets,” he added.
On May 11, a group led by Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo will walk the last leg of the southern pilgrimage route — from Bellarmine Preparatory School (2300 S. Washington St., Tacoma, WA 98405) to the detention center. The group will leave about 8 a.m. (See below for ways to get to the Mass.)
Getting to the Mass
The Walking and Witnessing pilgrimage will culminate Saturday, May 11, with an 11 a.m. Mass outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Street parking is very limited around the detention center, located at 1623 East J St., so carpooling is recommended for those trying to park there. People can be dropped off at the detention center.
Taking the bus or parking at a nearby garage will require a walk of about 1 mile, or using a ride-share service.
Parking is also available at Bellarmine Preparatory School, where participants can use a ride-share service to get to the detention center or join the last leg of the pilgrimage walk, being led by Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, and leaving Bellarmine about 8 a.m.
Read more tips and options for getting to the Mass.