How It Works - Lay Groups

It is necessary for each group of walkers to have a plan for transportation to / from the pickup / drop-off points each day, and to have food ready at the lunch sites if you don’t want to carry your food with you. You should also have a plan to set up the campsite on the first day and take it down on the last day.

In the past, teams of walkers have divided into two groups, the “walkers” and the “supporters.” The supporters provided transportation, food preparation, and campsite maintenance. Supporters will not have the opportunity of walking the entire length of the pilgrimage, but may switch places with walkers at meeting points. You are responsible for making sure your own group has made these arrangements.

The pilgrimage will start with Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Barnesville, Maryland on May 30th, 6:00am. Bring breakfast to eat after Mass. Make sure that the walkers have everything they need for the walk in the car because they will not arrive at the campsite until dinner. After Mass, we will have a blessing and then start walking from the Marian Shrine.

Each day will have this general outline (see Daily Schedule for more detail):
Rise; Mass; breakfast; walk; lunch; walk; return to campsite for dinner; retire.

On the last morning, we will eat breakfast, pack all gear in the vehicles, and begin walking. The earlier you start, the earlier you will finish and have time to see the Basilica.

Preparation before the pilgrimage:

  1. Review the Maps. Learn where the trail is, the campsite, the drop-off points, the meeting points, the pick-up points, and the basilica are.
  2. People traveling from outside the DC / Maryland area will be responsible for any accommodations needed prior to May 29th (the night before the pilgrimage officially begins).
    • Pilgrims will be able to set up their campsite the day before (May 29th)
  3. If you are only walking on the third day, be at Georgetown Waterfront Park between 11:45am and 1:00pm.
  4. Decide how you will arrange your group into “walkers” and “supporters.” The duties of the support crew are:
    • Provide transportation to / from the drop-off / pick-up locations.
    • Bring lunch at the midway point each day with water and food.
    • Take care of the campsite while everyone is gone.
    • You can have either one cook (full time) or take turns.