Every year on the Sunday following July 16, worshippers come from miles around to attend the Catholic church service at the hilltop chapel at Mount Carmel.
It is a tradition that dates back to 1922, when Abbot Michael Ott, OSB, announced that an annual pilgrimage would be held on that day in honour of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
This year nearly 300 people took part in the 89th annual pilgrimage. It was an occasion for families and friends to reunite for the open-air mass, presided over by Bishop Donald Bolen. It also gave Catholics from different parishes a chance to participate in the service by reading the lesson, leading the music, or by helping with communion.
A sea of umbrellas stood out in the congregation, but for this year's event it wasn't due to inclement weather; instead, people were trying to keep the heat of the sun at bay.
After a welcome message from Doug Schmidt of St. Gregor, church dignitaries were led to the altar of the chapel by a colourful procession of flags. Once again Bishop Bolen presided over the service, assisted by Father Matthew Ramsay, who gave the homily.
Members of the choir of St. Anthony's Parish, Lake Lenore, led the music and singing during the services.
It is also a tradition during the morning Eucharist to give a blessing over the fields. After communion, Bishop Bolen and Fr. Ramsay made their way from the chapel to the foot of the marble statue of Mary that stands at the peak of the hill.
From there, they blessed the fields during the saying of a prayer.
Betty McCoy, who lives in Edmonton but is here visiting cousins in the area, said she wouldn't have missed it for the world. Coming to Mt. Carmel means a lot to the 85-year-old woman who was born in the village of Carmel.
For some families, the annual pilgrimage is more than just attending the morning mass, it is an all-day affair.
After the 10:45 a.m. Eucharist, everyone proceeds back to the field where their cars are parked to have lunch. Some prefer to bring their own lunch and set up a table outside their cars in an improvised spot.
Others take advantage of the food available at the concession stand, from which the proceeds will go to the restoration of the church in Muenster.
For those who stay on after lunch, the afternoon continues with a more intimate exploration of their faith when they return to the mount for a visit to the Stations of the Cross and a blessing of the sick.