Annual Marian Pilgrimage in Senegal to Resume, Church Outlines Guidelines for Pilgrims

A poster announcing the Marian Pilgrimage to Popenguine scheduled for 4-6 June 2022. Credit: Diocese of Thies

The annual national Marian pilgrimage in the West African nation of Senegal that was canceled for two consecutive years due to COVID-19 restrictions has been scheduled for next month.

In a Monday, May 23 report, the Lay Apostolate Coordinator in Senegal says the Marian Pilgrimage to Popenguine, a small village on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, scheduled for June 4-6, is to take place under the theme, “Family love: Vocation and path to holiness”.

“This year, Catholics in Senegal will again be able to participate in the Marian pilgrimage to Popenguine, which brings together thousands of people from Senegal and the sub-region at Pentecost,” Fr. Augustin Sébastien Mamadou Diouf has been quoted as saying.

Fr. Diouf adds, “The event, which was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the health crisis, will be held from 4 to 6 June.”

In the report, the Senegalese Catholic Priest invites pilgrims to take all “essential and practical measures” to enable them live this moment of faith in the best conditions.


He goes on to highlight some guidelines for pilgrims saying, “Registration is ongoing in different Parishes of Dakar Archdiocese.” 

“At this stage, a badge is given to the pilgrim. It must be worn throughout the pilgrimage,” Fr. Diouf directs.

“A novena is also being said in Parishes as part of the spiritual preparation,” he says, adding, “This preparatory phase also serves to familiarize pilgrims with the program of celebrations so that they can be properly oriented.”

The Lay Apostolate Coordinator directs pilgrims to ensure that the rules established for the smooth running of the pilgrimage are “respected: wearing a badge is obligatory, and silence is required inside the shrine and around the perimeter.”

“Pilgrims are also asked to dress appropriately and to keep the shrine clean,” he says.

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Clapping during Eucharistic Celebrations is “prohibited” during the pilgrimage, the Senegalese Catholic Priest says, and adds, “The sale and consumption of alcohol in the precincts and surroundings of the shrine is not tolerated.”

“Noise pollution in and around the shrine is prohibited. The organizing committee has, in the same vein, forbidden beggars from gaining access to the Marian shrine,” Fr. Diouf has been quoted as saying in the May 23 report. 

In order to avoid any risk related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fr. Diouf calls for the respect of preventive measures including the “wearing of face masks and hand washing.”

Bishop Martin Boucar Tine of Senegal’s Kaolack Diocese is expected to preside over the Eucharistic Celebration of the 134th pilgrimage.

Last year, Catholic Bishops canceled the pilgrimage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on pilgrims to pray for Mary’s intercession in their respective Parishes.


“This great gathering of faith scheduled for May 24 cannot hold as usual,” members of the Episcopal Conference of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau said in their 1 May 2021 statement.

Instead of the major assembly of pilgrims in Popenguine, the Bishops recommended that “the celebration of the 133rd edition of the Pilgrimage be lived at the level of the Parish communities of our Dioceses, with the celebration of Marian Masses, preceded by the recitation of the Rosary, in strict respect of preventive measures.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.