The Great Pilgrimage

Not long ago, two of our parishioners took part in a famous pilgrimage: 500 miles on the Camino, the road to the tomb of St. James at Compostela in Spain. It was not an easy journey, but it became for them a spiritual adventure of newer and deeper closeness to the person of Jesus Christ. In making this trek, they joined the great throng of Christians who, in every age, travel to physical places of faith to be blessed and to touch – perhaps for the first time – their spiritual roots. 
 
With the beginning of this Holy Year of Mercy, we are invited to make pilgrimages here within our own home diocese. The Cardinal has designated some of our sacred spaces as destinations for those seeking to make manifest their inner journey toward God. These churches need not be visited on foot – God blesses cars and buses, too – and are objects not just of curiosity or photo shooting, but of prayer and worship. They include the Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary in Galveston, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in downtown Houston, and six others.
 
Next June, some of us from Prince of Peace will make a special pilgrimage to Rome to pray and learn and hopefully be a part of an audience with Pope Francis. Our journey will lead us to the great cities of Sts. Catherine, Anthony, and Francis. We will spend some time in the beauty of Bavaria before returning home.
 
For those seeking to make a spiritual pilgrimage without leaving home, our parish has joined www.formed.org, an incredible website (referred to as Catholic Netflix) of inspirational, instructive and professionally-created movies, instructional segments and spirituality. It’s free: our parish code is 66f823 . It will be an ongoing blessing to you in your faith pilgrimage.     
 
All of which brings us to The Great Pilgrimage, the journey of Jesus from the Father to our redemption and back to heaven. Like those walking the road in Spain, he chose to “do it the hard way,” coming into the world through 9 months in his mother’s womb, followed by a life of human pain and joy, intense love and ultimately the greatest journey of all: through death to resurrection victory. As we celebrate this Christmas, we are invited to look beyond the peacefulness of the infant Jesus and his first disciple Mary. We look through the Bethlehem scene to the 33 years that are to come and marvel as God’s love for us. He didn’t take the easy way. He didn’t take the short way. He didn’t take the comfortable way. He took the way of love.
 
And that, brothers and sisters, is why we make pilgrimages across the world or in our own hearts...to be a part of the Camino, the way of love.