Our Youth

How The Marian Pilgrimage in DC Made Me Feel Right at Home

More than 2,400 Brooklyn and Queens Catholics embarked upon a biennial pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Oct. 27. The graduate from St. Saviour H.S., Park Slope, attended the day’s Mass with pilgrims from her home diocese. (Photo: Melissa Enaje)

By Isabella Wagner

This past August, I began my college career in Washington D.C. at the Catholic University of America. Two months have passed and each day brings on new challenges and triumphs.


As a native New Yorker, I am very proud to represent where I come from. A challenge that I faced during my first weeks was convincing my peers of how amazing my home is in comparison to D.C.: the diversity, the culture and the possibilities.

One quality that I find surpasses even our greatest of characteristics is our spirituality.

Vibrant Brooklyn Diocese

The love and passion for our faith is incredibly strong throughout our vibrant city.

Something that I was looking forward to for months, before I even left Brooklyn, was the diocesan pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where that faith would be put into action.

From the day that I committed to the university, I had the weekend penned into my calendar, impatiently waiting for when I would see my loved ones and friends.

The people who make me feel most at home were coming to share in my new one. The weekend was a way that I could be at home without the four-hour drive or plane ticket.

That cloudy Saturday morning, I was ready to connect with friends, old and new, in disbelief that the day had finally arrived.

One Family in Christ

Everywhere you looked, there were people of all backgrounds coming together to celebrate the day as one family in Christ.

The most exciting part was seeing the faces of those that had never stepped foot in the shrine. It is truly a modern marvel.

I believe that the shrine, like the Diocese of Brooklyn, is a representation of the gorgeous diversity of God’s Church. Even though we are all different, we can still come together to worship.

Faith Connects Us All

Living in Washington, D.C., fulfils a childhood dream, but that doesn’t mean that I am never homesick. I miss being in New York with my family and going to my parish for Mass every Sunday.

The day showed me that home is not a place, but found in the people with whom you share the important parts of your life.

Faith connects us all as brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are such a powerful and beautiful diocese, full of faith and trust in God and one another.

I am inspired in my faith every day recognizing how lucky I am to be a member of the Diocese of Brooklyn.