US Soldiers March in Black Madonna Pilgrimage

Uniformed troops from a half-dozen nations carried their national colors in their annual participation in the pilgrimage to the Church of the Black Madonna:

For more than 400 years, people throughout the Balkans have been making the pilgrimage to the Church of the Black Madonna to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For more than a decade, KFOR’s Soldiers from across the world—serving on NATO’s peace support mission in Kosovo—have been part of the occasion.

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is a Catholic feast day to honor the entrance of Mary into Heaven. While the pilgrimage honors a Catholic feast day, Soldiers and locals from a variety of faiths participated.

While deployed in support of operations in Kosovo, US troops have a unique opportunity for an experience in their faith (or to see one with which they are not familiar). In that regard, the US military not only supports the religious exercise of these troops, but also of those who don’t necessarily share those faith practices but are interested in learning about them.