Being a Catholic Pilgrim means actually going on pilgrimage. This can happen in many different ways: Traveling to a holy site, going to something like the World Meeting of Families or World Youth Day, or just seeking out Catholic places whenever traveling on vacation. This reminds us of the universal nature of Catholicism and connects us with our faith in a tangible way.
I grew up in Kansas. For 22 years, I didn’t roam too much beyond its borders, but in 2001 I married a military man and all that changed. The military life has afforded me the opportunity to travel the country and really immerse myself in the culture of each area. I thoroughly enjoy getting out and exploring what a city or state has to offer. I want to eat their best foods, I want to meet their people, and I want to see the beauty of the area.
Whenever our family travels, we always make sure we go to church. We pick a local church and it is always a welcomed experience to worship with new people, see the uniqueness of their church, and feel a little out of place. Also, when we travel, if there is any special Catholic sight to see, we are there. I simply cannot get enough of visiting these holy places.
Since living on the West coast, we’ve been able to visit seven of the 21 California Missions founded by St. Junipero Serra. I love them. They feel so ancient, mystical, and holy. There are a lot of mistruths about the missions and I think if you visit them, you’ll uncover some beautiful truths.
Our faith is universal. On every continent, you can find Catholic sites. One of my greatest wishes is to walk The Way in Spain and visit the Holy Land. I dream about going on these pilgrimages all the time. .
My challenge to you: When you travel, go to the local church. Vacation time doesn’t mean a break from God and you’ll see some beautiful, awe-inspiring churches. Also, make time to see anything of significance to the Catholic faith if it’s near you. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. is unreal. Lastly, make time for a pilgrimage in your life. There are many and they will only enhance and strengthen your love for God.