Five hundred members of St Anthony's Church in Whanganui are celebrating a centennial milestone with a six day pilgrimage walk to Paraparaumu.

Every October for the past 10 years, the Catholic Church has honoured the month dedicated to the Rosary with a one day pilgrimage on foot to the Lady of Lourdes shrine in Paraparaumu.

But this year holds extra meaning for the church as it marks 100 years since the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

On October 13, 1917 more than 70,000 people were reported to have witnessed the Virgin Mary in Portugal.

Advertisement

On Sunday October 1, nearly 500 members of the church departed from the their parish on York St in Whanganui and arrived at the Fordell Hotel nearly four hours later.

Our Lady's statue being carried out of St Anthony's Parish in Whanganui. Photo/ Bevan Conley
Our Lady's statue being carried out of St Anthony's Parish in Whanganui. Photo/ Bevan Conley

Day two is the woman's leg which is a 23km walk from Turakina to Marton. Tuesday will be the 13.5km men's walk from Marton to Bulls. Day four will be a 20km girls' school walk to Foxton Beach. The next day will be the 20km boys' walk to Otaki Beach and on Saturday, October 7 members will arrive in Paraparaumu.

Father Andrew Cranshaw said some people were doing the whole walk but most would just be doing sections.

"This day only comes around once so it is very significant to our church. It is being celebrated all over the world and we have been handed a statue of Our Lady that will be passed from family to family."