Track your steps for eight weeks while you prayerfully and virtually travel and learn about different Catholic sites across the USA. More details coming soon!
What are your travel plans this Summer? The members of the CURO community are invited to virtually travel across the US to 13 pilgrim stops! Starting at the San Buenaventura Mission in California and ending at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C., we will learn about each site, and pray the accompanying prayer that is unique to each stop. Over the course of the pilgrimage, you will be able to log your steps either directly from your device or manually using your wellness portal. (if you need assistance with this, feel free to contact me at [email protected]). So join us for 8 weeks and become pilgrim people, getting to 400,000 steps!
Pilgrimages (coming from the latin peregrinus meaning someone on a journey) have been a part of our Catholic tradition since the early Church. St. Helen went to the Holy Land in 324 AD to venerate the ground where Christ walked. It was there that she found the True Cross. Walking pilgrimages gained popularity in the Middle Ages, often taking years to complete, along treacherous routes. These popular routes include Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela, and Walsingham. A pilgrimage was a way of undergoing in miniature the path of the Christian life. Just as pilgrimages can be filled with joys and setbacks, so the spiritual life is a journey where the Lord is calling us all to Himself! Pilgrims on journey are mindful of our current state, in spirit, mind, and body, but have our eyes fixed on the future, to Heaven.
The history of the stations of the Cross also has its roots in Pilgrimage. In the early 16th century, due to the danger and difficulty of traveling to the Holy Land, Churches in Europe began building stations of the cross so that the faithful could relive and walk these steps in their homes. Taking this example, we too can create our own pilgrimages, our own miniature journey to a Sacred Site. But how do we do this?
- Choose a Holy Site. This may be one of our 13 pilgrim stops, or another Catholic site of your choosing. If doing this as a family, it could be a great opportunity to get your kids involved, asking them to research Holy sites and Churches in your state.
- Pick a date. You may choose to pick a date around a special liturgical feast, or saints feast day. If you do choose a saint’s feast day, make sure to turn to them asking them to intercede for you along this pilgrim path.
- Be prepared. Bring hiking shoes, dress accordingly, and bring snacks! While walking, its important to remember to drink plenty of water along the route and fuel your body with nutrients including healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Examples of nutrient-filled and healthy protein containing foods include apple slices, a handful of almonds, or some peanut butter on a rice cake. Don’t forget your rosary!
- Choose an intention. You may have many intentions, or even carry a book with you of others’ intentions that you can offer up along the way and when you get to the holy site. It is generally helpful to have one primary intention that you carry with you along the journey. Being body and soul allows us to offer our journey inclusive of difficulty, exhaustion, and perhaps blisters, for the intention of our choosing.
- Document the journey. Take pictures, enjoy the pilgrimage. While pilgrimages can have difficult moments, they are full of so much grace and joy! As St. Peter reminds us, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3:15)
We invite you to enter this tradition of the Church. Schedule a personal pilgrimage, if you can, and visit one of the sites along our virtual path together! Make sure to take pictures along the way and when you arrive. We would love to hear about your experience! Please send your photos and pilgrim destinations to us at [email protected]