The Lac Ste Anne pilgrimage, an annual tradition that attracts thousands of people and dates back more than a century, has been cancelled this year as a precaution against the spread of the COVD-19 coronavirus.

“For the first time in living memory the pilgrimage is cancelled,” Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said in a video message announcing the decision by the board of trustees that governs the event.

“This is a very sad and difficult decision obviously, but we also realize it’s a necessary one. After all there are not many gatherings larger than the annual Lac Ste Anne pilgrimage … We simply cannot hold this event when we know that doing so would risk the health and possibly the life of the people who participate.”

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