Papal Visit

Pilgrimage for life and charity to the papal visit in Csíksomlyó

Two radio journalists from Kolozsvár set out on the Road of Mary on foot

Some 300 kilometers on foot in seven days, raising EUR 10,000 to help a girl suffering from a serious disease – that’s the goal of this pilgrimage by two journalists from Kolozsvári Rádió (Radio Cluj), who set out on the 24th of May to Csíksomlyó (Şumuleu Ciuc). Zsolt Ferencz and Márton Varga-Mihály, led by an experienced guide are determined to follow what is one of Central and Eastern Europe’s most famous pilgrim routes, the Road of Mary. They plan to walk this road to Csíksomlyó, and attend the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the 1st of June.

The two radio journalists began their journey after a live press conference in Kolozsvár where they described their project, Pilgrimage for life. During the morning radio program, they recounted the story of a 14 year-old girl who lives with her family near the village of Mezőbánd (Band, Bandorf) in simple conditions without indoor plumbing. Considering their simple means, Agnes Nagy’s bone cancer diagnosis two years ago posed a serious financial challenge to the family.

“One can definitely relate emotionally to the situation of the girl and the family, but that is not enough. They need monetary support, and we decided to try to raise 10,000 EUR, proving that people can actually be open to humanitarian causes and can act together as a community for a good cause.”

Besides the charitable purpose of the pilgrimage, the two journalists also hope to reach Hungarian communities living along the Road of Mary and to report over radio their experiences and exploits to the larger Transylvanian community.

“We definitely have the drive, the enthusiasm and the belief that we’ll be able to complete this journey successfully,” said Zsolt Ferencz. They had talked already a year ago, he said, about going as pilgrims to the Pentecostal Mass in Csíksomlyó, but when news of the papal visit arrived, they decided they had to be present at this historical event.

“We are absolute greenhorns in pilgrimage, but we are determined to prove that if we can walk on foot on the Road of Mary from Kolozsvár to Csíksomlyó, anyone can do it. We will report daily about all the feelings and thoughts one has after walking for hours, or maybe even half a day,” said Márton Varga-Mihály.

The two will carry with them bags designed especially for gathering donations that they hope to receive from people they meet on their journey. Contributions can also be taken to the local parishes, and these will be forwarded to the Életfa Association in Kolozsvár. An account number is also available on their website,, which can receive donations .

The guide accompanying the two pilgrims, Zoltán Bogya, has already walked this segment of the Road of Mary several times, first in 2013, then almost every year since. During the news conference, he pointed out that this journey is “not about performance. It is not about running from Kolozsvár to Csíksomlyó, just simply about managing the eventual problems, and just walking the road and arriving to the destination as planned”. The Road of Mary, he said, is a very important pilgrimage route. It is probably the longest in Europe, having a branch of 1400, and one of 1200 kilometers. The three pilgrims plan to stop in Kolozs (Cojocna, Salzgrub), Nagysármás (Sărmaşu, Sarmen), Mezőmadaras (Mădăraş), Sóvárad (Sărăţeni), Farkaslaka (Lupeni, Wolfsdorf), Ivó (Izvoare), Hargitafürdő (Harghita-Băi) and obviously Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc, Szeklerburg) on their way to Csíksomlyó.


Title image: The substitute vicar of Saint Michael’s parish of Kolozsvár, Stelian Veres gives his blessings to the three pilgrims

Source: Márta Bodó,

Author: Éva Zay