I should be packing because in just over a week, we will be heading West. Yes, it is finally here...our reenactment of Lewis and Clark's journey (the middle part, anyway). After our visit to #3's godmother in St. Lewis (oh and I need some sleep since I can't spell Louis!), we will launch ourselves from St. Charles and not stop until we reach Sioux Falls, SD (no, we aren't going to Rushmore...that's for crazy people. Kidding! Love you!!!)
Our ultimate destination is this little muffin...
I digress again.
Our trip, in addition to the reenactment and celebration, has become a pilgrimage. I know, you saw that coming. Our trips always turn out that way. I suppose it's because it's so easy to do. There are so many BEAUTIFUL churches, convents and shrines across this land (and in other lands)...why wouldn't you make them part of your snack/rest/gas stop? I told a friend today we will likely stop every 2-3 hours to fill our gas tank and our grace tank.
It's often better if you have a point to your pilgrimage (like arriving at a special destination church or an intention that you pray for along the way.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
(Middle English, pilgrime, Old French, pelegrin, derived from Latin peregrinum, supposed origin, per and ager—with idea of wandering over a distance).When we went to Slovakia (go see the posts from August of 2013) we intended to revisit the Basilica at Levoca to give thanks for the blessing of our children. A lot of extra graces happened to be stirred up on the way and I have no less hope for this August's jaunt.
Pilgrimages may be defined as journeys made to some place with the purpose of venerating it, or in order to ask there for supernatural aid, or to discharge some religious obligation.
This time around we are "asking for supernatural aid" in the form of blessings on our dear friend's son as he is ordained to the transitional diaconate in October on his way, God willing, to the priesthood. I hope to compile a little bit about each church we visit and have the kids turn it into a big spiritual bouquet for his special day. If that falls flat, at least the prayers will be there.
So, how do you "do" a pilgrimage if you don't have a planned end church?
- plan your route
- decide where you will stop
- go to MASSTIMES.ORG and plug in the city
- see which of the churches fill your need (a specific Saint, a Mass time that works, etc.)
It's been so much fun planning this trip and I've learned a lot already. First, the Midwest is already in a huge, HUGE priest shortage. There is often only one priest for two or three parishes and if he goes on vacation sometimes there is no daily Mass for the week. That is sad. A lot of the churches are also closed unless something is happening like Mass or confession.
That last part made me "check in" with the pastors of the churches we plan to visit. Southern hospitality has nothing on the Midwest! One of the pastors was on his day off when we're passing through but offered to have the church opened for our visit (of course I said no...they have the most amazing Marian courtyard which will fulfill our needs quite well). Please keep all of these priests in your prayers when you think of it. Pray that God will send replacements when they are needed.
Please also keep our happy band in your prayers and I will do my best to update along the way.
We are blessed.