Cross in the Woods Pilgrimage

Cross in the Woods Pilgrimage

This year's first official annual family pilgrimage will be Saturday, July 9, 2022. REGISTER HERE! (By July 3rd)

Families and individuals are invited to attend this newly established pilgrimage that will start in Wolverine, Michigan and conclude at the world-famous Cross in the Woods Shrine in Indian River, Michigan. This is home to the tallest vertical crucifix in the world. This is designed to be a family event that will include everyone from infants in strollers through older adults. This is a totally flat stroller-friendly trail that was formed from a retired railway. There are no soft spots in the trail as this is a firm, non-paved, but well-packed rail bed.

Pilgrimage time and location: The full Saturday pilgrimage route is just under 14 miles from the campground where we will begin and approximately 11 miles from the official start in Wolverine. For those not staying overnight, the official part of the pilgrimage will begin at the old rail depot in Wolverine with a kickoff and blessing of the pilgrims at 9:30am by Father Kimball.

Significance of this pilgrimage: This pilgrimage will proceed to the shrine in Indian River. When the church was originally planned it was scheduled to be named after Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The plan in the 1940’s to name the church after her had to be abandoned due to the fact that she had not yet been canonized. She loved to make small crosses and place them in the woods in trees as simple little shrines. In commemoration of this act, small wooden crosses will be made and then placed along the way, especially towards the end of the pilgrimage. Participants are encouraged to make and place these crosses (they can be on a simple string) in the trees on the side of the path. This symbolizes the carrying of our cross during the earthly pilgrimage of our lives. 

Pilgrimage Theme: The Kingship of Christ. This year the Cross in the Woods Pilgrimage has the main intention of the Catholic restoration of our country to the Social Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Registration: To register, go to the central Google document for an individual or family by following THIS LINK. Please sign the release of liability form found on this website. This signed form needs to be given to your local parish pilgrimage coordinator. The suggested donation to cover costs per person is $10 each, with a maximum cost per family of $30, and since we incur expenses, your generosity is appreciated. The signed forms and payment may either be sent to your local parish point-of-contact or to John Wurm, 149 Flag Point, Roscommon, MI 48653. Please have forms signed and payment turned in prior to the day of the pilgrimage, but if you must bring it that day, that is fine as well. For more information or questions, please contact your local pilgrimage coordinator first.

What we provide: Along with shuttle transportation, you will be provided with the pilgrimage booklet. We will also have a trailing vehicle that will be meeting us at various checkpoints with portable toilets & bottled water.

Things to bring the day of the pilgrimage: comfortable walking shoes that are broken in, a change of socks, sunscreen, hat, rosary, poncho (in case it rains), missal, a reasonable amount of water, as well as your own snacks and a lunch. Please avoid extra items that will just weigh you down.

Arrival, Friday, July 8th

Pilgrims arrive at base camp - Sturgeon Valley Campground, 15247 Trowbridge Road, Wolverine, MI 49799 - Make your own reservations (say you are with The Pilgrimage Group)

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (231) 525-8301
Facebook: Sturgeon Valley Campground and Cabins

We have an open field so camping is open. Each camping unit (tent/camper) is $10 per night and is considered as primitive or rustic facilities. Bath & showers facilities are available on the grounds. The $10 per night camping fee is payable directly to the campground.

(IMPORTANT NOTE - ONLY access the campground from I-75 to the Wolverine exit and go back south)

Schedule for Saturday, July 9th 

An optional pre-pilgrimage early-bird start will occur from the Sturgeon Valley Campground beginning at 8:15 am on Saturday morning with assembly of the pilgrims just after 8:00 am from the base camp. We will arrive at Wolverine at the old Railroad Depot on the east end of town (turn left after crossing the river in the park.) There will be shuttle for drivers of vehicles, and you will need to arrive between 8:45 - 9:00 am. Those arriving after that time will need to be shuttled back the starting point after the pilgrimage is complete. The kickoff with the blessing of pilgrims at 9:30 am and then we will begin moving at the starting time between 9:45 am and 10:00 am. We will reach our lunch destination and outdoor mass will be offered at 11:30 am with lunch following. Pilgrims will begin marching again at 12:45 pm and arrive at the shrine around 4:00 pm where we will pray our final rosary decade and receive the final blessing of the pilgrims. Upon conclusion there may be an open tour of the largest collection of dolls in the world that are all dressed in historical religious attire. There are over 500 of these dolls and the gift shop may also be open. Dinner after the event will be on your own and/or a majority of the pilgrims will return to the campground.

Summary of Saturday's Schedule

8:00am    Early-bird assembly: Sturgeon Valley
8:15am    Early-bird start: Sturgeon Valley
8:45am    Shuttling begins from RR Depot
9:30am    Kickoff/Blessing at RR Depot
9:45am    Departure from Railroad Depot
11:30am  Mass: Trail Parking
12:45am  Pilgrimage resumes
4:00pm    Arrival at Cross in the Woods

Departure, Sunday, July 10th

Only Mass Options:
9:30 am - Indoor Mass in Mancelona
3:00 pm – Indoor Mass in Bay City


For more information, contact your local parish pilgrimage point-of-contact:

St. Joseph Parish (Richmond): Sean Hetrick (313) 450-2429 or [email protected]

St. Anne Parish (Livonia): Andrew Gazdecki, (517) 206-9292, [email protected]

St. Margaret Mary Parish (Allendale): Matt Kellett (616) 288-4890, [email protected]

Sacred Heart Parish (Mancelona): Mike McLaughlin (231) 347-4954 or [email protected]

Infant of Prague Parish (Bay City): Carlos Guerra, (989) 395-4299, [email protected]

Logistics Coordination: John Wurm, (785) 260-3186 or [email protected].


Registration Link (Final Day to Register – July 3rd). Use this same link to cancel, filling out the fields at the very end of the form.

(All liability/permission forms need to be turned in to the local point of contact before registration is considered complete.)

Forms/PDFs for Download

Liability Release - Adults

Liability Release - Minors

Permission for Minors

Poster (to advertise pilgrimage)

Flyer (to place in church vestibule)

Other Resources

Pilgrimage music - visit this page if you'd like to learn some of the pilgrimage songs we'll be singing en route.