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Thousands take part in closure of pilgrimage to Notre Dame

WSBT 22

Thousands of people walked to Notre Dame Saturday morning to celebrate the University's 175th anniversary.

Two weeks and over 300 miles in the making.

"It's almost like running through the tunnel at Notre Dame stadium for the first time with the crowd cheering,” said Notre Dame Alum, Pat Sarb.

In November 1842, Founder of the University, Father Sorin and seven Holy Cross brothers made the cold trek from southern Indiana to northern Indiana. That trek is the reason the University of Notre Dame was founded.

32 pilgrims started their journey back in Vincennes and have been retracing Father Sorin's steps.

For Sarb, the decision to make the trek was an easy one.

"My family has been touched by Notre Dame from the founding of the University in the 1840’s with my great-great grandfather coming to South Bend and being friends with Father Sorin, helping to build some of the buildings on campus,” Sarb said.

The group has been slowly picking up more pilgrims along the way. For the final three-mile leg to Notre Dame, the core pilgrims were joined by thousands of others joining their journey.

The final route of the pilgrimage went right through downtown South Bend.

For alum Paul Zachlin, joining the walk was a chance to reconnect with the community.

"The people that weren't here physically were here in spirit. I think that you know again as part of that greater community that Notre Dame is all about,” he said. "When you call it a pilgrimage you could see why. I mean we were able to do one day and we're happy with that."

And the pilgrims who have been together since the beginning now have a new family among each other.

"I think 30 of them I had never met before. Now a lot hugs this week. A lot of emotion. I'm going to be sorry to see it end,” Sarb said.

But the end is also a beginning with a mass celebrating the start of a new school year.

For more information about the walk visit their website – trail.nd.edu.

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