Head to The Julia Greeley Guild to learn more about Denver’s Angel of Charity and The Society of Servant Pilgrims to learn more about Pilgrim Ann’s Ministry

MONDAY, MARCH 18

The latest photos were taken as I was walking between the villages of Gower & Eaton toward St Joseph, MO. Like most photos, there’s no town, just sprawling countryside… like the earlier Perrine Cemetery photo – the town dissolved long ago; only the cemetery remains. Google doesn’t even know.

Maybe you get the sense of the expanse & open distances as I walk on these gravel farm roads. No one, really, except the local farmers, uses them or even knows they exist. Great pilgrim paths, they are.

SUNDAY, MARCH 17

Mass last night after St Pat’s parade. Grumpy priest but friendly parishioners, a lovely couple offered their guest room to me & wonderful evening together.

Early this morning, I was interviewed for a local paper – Cameron Citizen-Observer; article to appear next week. Reporter, also KofC 4th deg, will try to get something in the KC-St Joe diocesan paper, too.
This ‘nice’ weather causes me to carry my winter clothes instead of wearing them – a heavy burden =[  but the scenery is undulating & expansive, so I attached a few photos of late winter western MO for you.
With Benedictines women tonight – gotta run to complines…”

Broadview, MO

Perrine Cemetary

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

Baptists last night – fascinated by Julia & the path from ‘heroic virtue’ to ‘Saint’ in modern times.  Back w Catholics tonight. 274 mi total from St Louis…passed through Hamilton this sunny windy day – quilt capital of America. Who knew?

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

WEEK 1 UPDATE

“It’s a strange experience carrying a phone. Remembering that I gave it has been a challenge, so many photo ops went unrecorded. I’m on a learning curve…

Holding Julia close, I walked north from St Louis on the western edge of the Mississippi River valley for four days to reach Hannibal. I passed several grand antebellum manor houses that Julia may have seen herself. Honestly, I felt an uneasiness walking by that facet of history even though my lineage was in Ireland long after the Civil War. I saw more than a few Confederate flags in display since my walk began.
Every day I have been telling people I encounter about Julia. Most of the Catholics have heard of her & connect her in context with Fr Augustine Tolton. Others listen to the story of Julia with interest but are more stunned that I’m walking to Denver rather than awed by the holy efforts of the woman inspiring me to do so.
In the first week I’ve had a bit of snow, rain, sunshine, & wind…I’m sure the mix will persist all the way to Denver. Enjoy your blizzard.”
St Louis – O’Fallon – Elsberry – Clarksville – Hannibal – Monroe City – Shelbina – Macon
Total of 164 miles by foot on mostly gravel farm roads, a few blacktop little roads & across a few fields.
I’ve gone to Mass 5 times & 1 Eucharistic Celebration.
I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the Catholic church: 1x OP convent, 1x OSB retreat house, 2x rectories, & 3x parishioners’ homes.
In populated areas like here, I make a point of not carrying water so that I’m compelled to ask someone as I pass a farmhouse. It’s refreshing how many people (mostly Protestants maybe) who understand the Biblical significance of offering ‘even a glass of water’. Who am I to bring my own water & deny someone the opportunity to have his gesture rewarded in Heaven?”

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11
Ann visits Holy Rosary Catholic School in Monroe City, MO.

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

… the strong headwind made my 25 miles today more exhausting than they should have been, but I saw (and photo’d) a herd of buffalo, was followed by an affectionate Lab/Great Dane mix for 3 miles, and sat in on a Presbyterian Sunday School…. good day; night with a sole Dominican sister in a big convent…

Today – 25 mi / 117 cum.. reached Monroe City strong headwind; w Dominican sister tonight, will talk to school assembly tomorrow;  parochial school k-8

Small buffalo herd on prairie today.”

THURSDAY, MARCH 7
“Yesterday, Day 1, I walked 25 miles through grueling suburban sprawl to O’Fallon & stayed at the rectory of St Barnabas church. A deacon who remembered me from a speech I gave at a pilgrim conference in Belleville in 2014 was beside himself offering his assistance.

Today, 27 miles in on & off snow flurries for a cumulative of 52 miles. I’m staying in the comfortable home of an elderly parishioner in Elsberry. There’s a Catholic church but no resident priest. The priest from St Barnabas phoned a local family he knew prompting the community to discuss me at their Communion Celebration this morning. It’s great that the small community has all gotten involved. They’re expecting a larger than usual group at  tomorrow’s Celebration so they can all meet me in person. It’s a pretty big deal that a pilgrim has come anyway, but a pilgrimage to Denver for Julia Greeley is even more noteworthy according to the folks I’ve met so far. Julia’s evidently well known here.
My walk to Hannibal is beneath impressive sandstone bluffs at the western edge of the floodplains of the Mississippi. Mostly, I’ve been on the old highway that’s largely abandoned except by local farmers.  It’s parallel to a railroad line that was constructed in 1871. Did Julia travel from Hannibal by train? If she did, the view of the bluffs couldn’t have changed much & though there are only a handful of houses, several are century farms. I was struck by some large chambers carved in the bluffs and remembered that my phone, though without service, has a camera, too. See the attached photo…

Julia may also have experienced the thousands upon thousands of migrating geese like I saw & heard today. Between the whistling of the trains & the squawking of the birds & the burbling snowmelt rushing toward the river, the soundtrack surely hasn’t changed much since Julia’s days in this area.

Enough for now – the widow’s gone to bed & I’m waiting for my laundry to finish. Tomorrow, I’ve got plans to visit more Benedictines & a fish fry at the American Legion. Pilgrim life rocks!

Peace!”

Prayer is the breath of faith, a cry arising from the hearts of those who trust in God. We see this in the story of Bartimaeus, the beggar from Jericho. Though blind, he is aware that Jesus is approaching, and perseveres in calling out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” By using the phrase “Son of David," he makes a profession of faith in Jesus the Messiah. In response the Lord invites Bartimaeus to express his desire, which is to be able to see again. Christ then tells him: “Go; your faith has saved you." This indicates that faith is a cry for salvation attracting God’s mercy and power. As we continue on our pilgrimage of faith, may we, like Bartimaeus, always persevere in prayer, especially in our darkest moments, and ask the Lord with confidence: “Jesus have mercy on me. Jesus, have mercy on us!”                                      -- Pope Francis   FROM YOUR PASTOR    What is PRAYER?   The Catechism describes PRAYER as 'The elevation of the mind and heart to God in praise of his glory; a petition made to God for some desired good, or in thanksgiving for a good received, or in intercession for others before God. Through prayer the Christian experiences communion with God through Christ in the Church (2559 - 2565).'   The Words of Bartimaeus are a PRAYER -- Praise to God, Petition, and Communion with God. Bartimaeus APPROACHES IN HUMILITY...

SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA   SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA Benedict XVI’s reflection on the great saint and Doctor of the Church in 2010. Our catechesis today deals with Saint Catherine of Siena, a Dominican tertiary, a woman of great holiness and a Doctor of the Church. Catherine’s spiritual teachings are centered on our union with Christ, the bridge between earth and heaven. Her own virginal entrustment to Christ the Bridegroom was reflected in her celebrated visions. Catherine’s life also shows us the importance of the spiritual maternity exercised by so many women in every age. From this great saint let us learn to grow in holiness, love for the Lord and fidelity to his body, the Church. Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today I would like to speak to you about a woman who has had an eminent role in the history of the Church. She is St. Catherine of Siena. The century in which she lived — the 14th — was a troubled time for the life of the Church and for the whole social fabric in Italy and Europe. However, even in the moments of greatest difficulty, the Lord does not cease to bless his People, raising men and women saints who stir minds and hearts, bringing about conversion and renewal. Catherine is one of these and still today she speaks to us and pushes us to walk courageously toward sanctity to be disciples of the Lord in an ever fuller sense. Born in Siena in 1347 to a very numerous family, she died in her native city in 1380. At 16, moved by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the Dominican Third Order, in the feminine branch called the Mantellate. She stayed with her family and confirmed the vow of virginity she made privately when she was still an adolescent; she dedicated herself to prayer, penance, and works of charity, above all for the benefit of the sick. When her fame for sanctity spread, she became the protagonist in an intense activity of spiritual counsel, dealing with all categories of persons: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, and including Pope Gregory XI, who at that time resided in Avignon and whom Catherine exhorted energetically and effectively to return to Rome. She traveled a lot to solicit the interior reform of the Church and to foster peace between states. For this reason also the Venerable John Paul II declared her co-patroness of Europe: so that the Old World would never forget its Christian roots that are at the base of its journey and continue to draw from the Gospel the fundamental values that ensure justice and concord. Catherine suffered much, as have many saints. Some thought in fact that she should not be trusted, to the point that, in 1374, six years before her death, the general chapter of the Dominicans called her to Florence to question her. They assigned her a learned and humble friar, Raymond of Capua, future master-general of the order. Having become her confessor and also her “spiritual son,” he wrote the first...

"Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope.  It is a new and living hope that comes from God.  It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, with a passing smile. No.  It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own.  Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts.  But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate.  Jesus’ hope is different.  He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life." -Pope Francis   FROM YOUR PASTOR  Where do we find HOPE in a PANDEMIC WORLD?   During Lent, we talked about adopting Lenten Practices as a Way Of Life on Easter Monday.   On Divine Mercy Sunday, Saint Faustina punctuates why that new Way Of Life is essential -- because of the GIFT OF THE CROSS...

  [vc_video link='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hteYYECfqGY']   What is Divine Mercy? When did we first see it?  Our readings today give us a glimpse into that Font Of Divine Mercy from which flow the Waters Of Baptism and the Blood Of The Cross…purifying us and sanctifying us in our successes and our failures, in times of plenty and in times of distress, in the Company of Others and during Shelter in Place.   In the First Reading, Jesus’ Apostolic Church is defined as one that prays, teaches, and creates community...

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others. Under no circumstance can this invitation be obscured! All of the virtues are at the service of this response of love.” -Pope Francis FROM YOUR PASTOR Saint Thomas Aquinas tell us that TRUE LOVE is to Will the GOOD of Another. Jesus tell us that the two Great Commandments are to LOVE GOD and LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR. But sometimes that's really hard...

Father Ron's Reflection for the weekend of December 29th, 2019: Why does Jesus ask us to have the Faith of a Child? Perhaps because he chose to ENTER OUR WORLD AS A CHILD. As the Son of God, he could have come to us in many ways...

Liturgically, our readings today are an Anamnesis...