Sunday, December 28
Pilgrims on the journey
My return to blogging coincided with a flurry of studies aimed at preparing me (and my 34 fellow pilgrims) for an eight week pilgrimage to Turkey, Greece, and Italy (most of the time spent in Rome). In our brief three week session, we had crash courses on the spirituality of pilgrimage and church architecture. The former helped us situate ourselves within the long tradition of Christian pilgrimage. The latter helped us learn, in a word, to "read" buildings. It was an excellent, if brief, study of architecture. I can now speak a bit more intelligently about why architects might say that "architecture is the built-form of ideas."
I may have a chance to blog during my time in Rome (we'll arrive there in mid-January), but, if not, be assured of my prayers for the men and women of the Church in America. I trust that this journey will help all of us seminarians become wiser, more knowledgeable, and holier men. If that happens, we will "have" more to give. If we enter more deeply into the history and meaning of our past, we will be better situated to help others do so. The point, of course, is to grow in our ability and disposition to proclaim in our words and lives the liberating message of the Gospel. But, to help others find God's liberating truth and mercy, we must experience the truth and love of God for ourselves.
To that end, I think the Pilgrimage Quarter at Mundelein Seminary is a wonderful gift to us seminarians. It affords us a sustained period to contemplate the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church as we journey (in deeply Catholic ways) to places central to our faith, and as we remember the lives of those who have gone before us in faith. It is my prayer that we will be changed by this pilgrimage we take in the "footsteps of Sts. Peter and Paul."
Needless to say, blogging will take a back seat to my studies there (we will have courses in the Gospel of Luke and the Apostle Paul during the pilgrimage) and my prayer at the many holy sites we will visit. If you think of it, please pray that we will make good use of this gift of pilgrimage, for our sake and for those we will one day (God-willing) serve as priests of Jesus Christ.