What is a Pilgrimage?
A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey to a destination of religious significance. It is not a vacation, but a quest for deeper faith. The pilgrimage is more than just the destination, it begins as soon as you leave the comfort of your home and your normal routine. A pilgrimage can include great sacrifice and suffering and great spiritual benefit for those who seek to unite their sacrifice and suffering with that of Jesus. Our family made the decision to journey to the World Meeting of Families this year. Part of our motivation was to be present at this historic event and hopefully to see the Pope (when we registered, Pope Francis had not yet confirmed his attendance). Our ministry is dedicated to promoting God’s plan for family life and so attending the World Meeting of Families only seemed appropriate, but it goes beyond that. Our ministry is an extension of our family, an outward sign of the Love that we seek to cultivate within our family. Even if we did not have a ministry devoted to families, we would still be making this pilgrimage because we seek to lead our family deeper into relationship with Christ and His Church and enter more completely into God’s plan for family life.
Love is Our Mission
“Love is Our Mission, the Family Fully Alive”, is the theme of the 2015 World Meeting of Families. We as families are on a mission from God, a mission to guard, reveal and communicate love in our communities, in our cities, in our countries, and ultimately in our world. God is love and He has a plan for our families. God himself is a communion of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The love between the three persons of the Holy Trinity is oriented towards leading humanity towards the love of God.
The love of God is given freely without reservation or conditions, it is given totally with nothing held back. God’s love is faithful, even if the other party in the relationship is unfaithful, God will still be faithful. Lastly, God’s love is fruitful, it is not sterile, the love between the persons of the Holy Trinity always bears fruit just as the love between a husband and wife bears fruit, often as a new person. We consider our ministry to be a fruit of the love within our family, we are compelled to share this love with other families and we encourage them to do the same. The words of Christ in the 14th chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel inspire us, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”. We are called to spread the fire of God’s love throughout the world, for it is the Love of God that will transform the world into a more just world, a more peaceful world and a world full of love for God and for our neighbor.
To Boldly Go
So with all this in mind, we set out on our pilgrimage, we have an RV to get us there, but only just enough time to make it, so no stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. We have a hotel at our destination, but it is almost 8 miles from the Convention Center where the World Meeting of Families is being held, so we brought our bicycles (this is such a large event that transportation is going to be challenging for a group of 10). We really can’t afford to eat out for each meal, so we brought our groceries and our hotel room has a small refrigerator and microwave, but most of our meals will probably take place away from our hotel.
So we have the basics covered, but we don’t have a complete plan. But we know we are called to be at this event and we know the Lord will provide, and most assuredly in ways we are not expecting. There is something exciting and scary about relying on God in this way, but I suppose we have good company, for even the disciples were sent out two by two with only one pair of sandals, a single tunic without any money relying on God to provide for their every need through the people He would put in their path during their pilgrimage and hopefully upon our return we too will marvel at the things God did for us and through us during this adventure.
Follow Our Pilgrimage Online
Our family departed late Sunday evening for Philadelphia on a pilgrimage to attend the World Meeting of Families and to attend the Papal events over the weekend. We will drive over 24 hours to get there. I will be micro blogging this pilgrimage on the Your Holy Family Facebook page and also providing daily summaries on the Your Holy Family website. So be sure to “Like” our Facebook page and select “Get Notifications” so you will be notified when I post a new status update to our Facebook Page.