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!”

“If we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to ask anything more of life...

“The cross is the badge that shows who we are: our speaking, thinking, looking, working is under the sign of the cross, that is under the sign of the love of Jesus to the end. ...

"Today we celebrate the fiftieth Earth Day. This is an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family. As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst...

"The problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even — without realizing it — racist. In this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -- Pope Francis    FROM YOUR PASTOR Two weeks ago, I offered a Reflection on a General Confession On The Sin of Racism. My Focus was the Five Chapters of my personal life - - - Chapter One: Schools, Chapter Two: Professional Life, Chapter Three: Community and Social Life, Chapter Four: Seminary and Catholic Priest, Chapter Five: Use of My Time, Talent, and Treasure to Build and Not Divide. That Reflection is on the social media of both of our Churches if you would like to look at it. It will  help frame today's Five Chapters. Why did I write it? I wrote it because of a song that we used to sing at Presentation of Our Lady Grade School during the racial unrest of the late 60s --  ‘Let there be peace on Earth and let it  begin with me.’ Since that time, we had a very informative discussion in the Julia Greeley Guild Zoom Meeting last week. In that meeting, Mary Leisring -- the Coordinator of the Guild, an employee of the Cathedral, and former Director of the Archdiocese Black Catholics Office -- made the comment that her phrase is -- Black Lives Have Not Always Mattered. Mary reflected on that concept as it related to her life and career. As a Priest, she has been a great ground for me in Pastoral Counseling through her patience, wisdom, and love. And it was she, and the other Guild members last year, who told me about the reality of The Negro Motorist Green-Book --  Victor Hugo Green's guide to services and places relatively friendly to African-Americans produced annually from 1936 to 1966. I never thought that my Beloved Denver would need such a guide! At that meeting, Dustin Caldwell, a member of the Guild and an Altar...

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time "Every family needs a father. The first need is this: that a father be present in a family. That he be close to his wife, sharing everything—joy and sorrow, hope and hardship. And that he be close to his children as they grow—when they play and when they strive, when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they take a wrong step, and when they find their path again: a father who is always present. To say 'present' is not to say 'controlling.' Fathers who are too controlling stifle the spirit of their children; they don’t let them develop. Fathers must be patient. A good father knows how to wait, and he knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: he is not a weak father, submissive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself…All of this is, of course, not easy, so Fathers need God. Without the grace that comes from the Father who is in Heaven, fathers lose courage and give up. Children need to find a father waiting for them when they come home after failing. They will do everything not to admit it, not to show it, but they need it. And not to find it opens wounds in them that are difficult to heal. Fathers are the irreplaceable guardians and mediators of faith through their goodness, justice, and protection."                                                                                                                                                  -- Pope Francis FROM YOUR PASTOR  What Makes Families Work? Pope Francis gives us good advice...

"Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost."                                  -- Pope Francis  FROM YOUR PASTOR The tragic events of the last several weeks have put into POIGNANT CLARITY FOR ME the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine, the Principles of Our Founding Fathers in Liberty and Justice for All, and the Principles of Inclusion and Equality that should  FORM OUR CONSCIENCE and GUIDE OUR ACTIONS as Intentional Disciples of Jesus Christ. The Preaching, Teaching, Healing, and Raising from the Dead of Jesus Christ was not based on the color of one's skin or the country of one's origin. It was based on one's Faith in God, one's Hope of Salvation, and one's Love of Others.  Jesus sent his Apostles and Disciples to the Ends of the Earth to share the Word of God. JESUS WAS NOT A RACIST...

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...