Saint Anthony and Saint Agnes Church in Utica is preparing for its annual pilgrimage.  Thousands of people from across North America are expected to attend.

Members of the church have been prepping for a while for the big weekend ahead and today the parking lot is full of tents and members were there cooking.

It’s the one-hundred-third celebration of St. Cosmas and Damian and the church its members are preparing food for all the guests.

“I’m doing the same thing I’ve been doing for sixty-three years. And I’m doing it because I’m grateful to God for all the blessing he’s given me.  Especially my children and my grandchildren and this is how I repay it.”

The grand celebration is held the last weekend of September welcoming all who want to be healed and enjoy homemade Italian food in the process.  Today members were preparing eggplant parmesan.

“People come here once a year as I said, from so many regions of the U.S. and Canada.  And they kind of consider themselves part of the big family just for the weekend and they see their friends and acquaintances that they probably haven’t seen since this time last year.”

Masses will be held throughout the weekend and a grand procession through Utica.

Many people make this pilgrimage to be healed and it is a weekend of spiritual healing of mind body and soul alongside Italian cooking and friends and family.