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Candace OwensJason Kempin / Getty Images

CHARTRES, France (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative commentator Candace Owens joined this year’s annual traditional Catholic pilgrimage from Paris to the Chartres Cathedral, shortly after her conversion to the Catholic faith.

Every year at Pentecost, pilgrims walk 60 miles on foot from Paris to the magnificent, iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame du Chartres, celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) each day, as well as singing hymns, praying, and confessing with accompanying priests. 

According to the Association “Notre-Dame de Chrétienté” (“Our Lady of Christendom”), which organizes the trip, the pilgrimage originated in the 12th century, interrupted occasionally by wars. Now in its 42nd year of a revived tradition, the pilgrims are united by their love of the traditional Mass and “Christendom,” Jean de Tauriers, president of Notre Dame de Chrétienté, told LifeSiteNews last year. 

De Tauriers told Detroit Catholic last week that the current pilgrimage was created as “part of a desire for cultural and religious resistance” after the Catholic Church underwent radical transformation following the Second Vatican Council.    

A record number of 18,000 pilgrims joined this year – described by de Tauriers as an “explosion” in numbers – coming from all over France as well as around the world, especially from the U.K., the U.S., and Germany. A massive number, 20,000, joined at the Chartres cathedral on Monday, May 20.

To see the spires of the Cathedral—the French citizens of this small town lined up on their lawns waving their flags, applauding to greet us, holding their children, and joining in Latin prayer is something I will never forget,” wrote Owens on X Tuesday morning.

A sizable number of pilgrims do not regularly attend the TLM, with a little over half this year being regular TLM attendees, according to de Tauriers. “Our pilgrims also include a growing number of non-practicing people, or those returning to the faith,” he told Detroit Catholic. “They come, thanks to friends, because they have questions. They want to see a priest, to talk,” he said.

De Tauriers pointed out that after the Novus Ordo Missae, the new vernacular Mass of Pope Paul VI, was implemented after Vatican II, “many concrete signs … all those habits of religious practice that sustained faith, were neglected.”

“This contributed to the collapse of religious practice, and of catechism attendance, the content of which had been considerably reduced,” he added. By contrast, he sees the TLM offered during the pilgrimage as “mission” work, calling it the “charism” of the pilgrimage.

Traditionally, the pilgrims departed from the Cathedral of Notre Dame, until a fire destroyed the medieval central spire. Now, their three-day journey begins at the Church of Saint Sulpice, the largest church in Paris, just blocks away from the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

In her conversion to the Catholic faith, Owens has followed in the footsteps of her husband, George Farmer, who is also a Catholic convert, and previously told LifeSiteNews that they discussed Catholicism all throughout their courtship process.