Telling your pilgrimage story

When you return home from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, you can’t help but want to share your story with friends, family, and co-workers. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to put into words the beauty of the experience ~ just what it is like to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to visit the places where miracles occurred, to participate in Mass in ancient cathedrals and churches.

Church of All Nations in Gethsemane. (photo by Rev. Gregory Beaumont)

So, when someone helps to tell the story of Holy Land pilgrimage, it’s always appreciated ~ and shared widely.

We’d like to share with you one group’s experience of how the “Bible was brought to life” on their recent Holy Land pilgrimage, led by Rev. Gregory J. Beaumont of Holy Family Catholic Church in Kingsburg, California.

The article in The Kingsburg Recorder, “Local residents visit the Holy Land,” tells this group’s pilgrimage story. We think you’ll enjoy reading about their individual experiences and how the trip impacted their faith and community.

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Pilgrimage changes us

by Scott Scherer

On pilgrimage, we are opened up inside to God. Somehow on pilgrimage, we find ourselves starting to act differently toward others. We gradually notice how things that used to irritate us now don’t trip our trigger. We act with more tolerance, even kindness, toward a fellow pilgrim. A new patience inhabits us. We become more loving.

Sometimes pilgrimage inspires us to the point of our being overwhelmed by God’s presence. We may spill over into spontaneous expressions of gratitude, sometimes even into dance.

This is exactly what happened to the beloved Brother Angelo, a Passionist brother whose moving pilgrimage story is told on this heart-rendering nine-minute documentary. Your heart will be deeply touched as you hear Brother Angelo tell his story of spilling over into dance for God while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Scott Scherer is president of Catholic Travel Centre, which provides customized pilgrimages for more than 400 Catholic organizations across the United States. 

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Pilgrimage: A fire that continues to burn

by Scott Scherer

When you return from pilgrimage, do you find the grace of your pilgrimage continues to burn inside you?

One of the remarkable characteristics of pilgrimage, and why I have devoted 30-plus years of my life to pilgrimages, is for precisely this reason.

Pilgrimage lights a fire in us, an ember that continues to burn long after our return.

I liken the experience of being on pilgrimage with a group to that of charcoals burning in a fire. A single piece of charcoal burning alone is limited in the heat it can produce. But many coals together can produce a hot burning fire. As a pilgrim in a group, you are as a coal in a fire. Each of you feeds off the others and cares for one another.

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Pilgrims walking in the footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land gather outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, after experiencing the Via Dolorosa in the Old City.

By sharing your experience, turning to each other, praying and celebrating Mass together, by your closeness and togetherness, you burn more brightly and bring your fellow pilgrims to burn more brightly.

We become, mysteriously, pilgrims as embers in a fire of love! Pilgrimage becomes an experience of love – our love for each other and God’s love for us. “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst.

So, whether you have returned from pilgrimage recently, or whether it has been months or even years, I invite you to email me to share how your pilgrimage continues to burn within you — to share the impact your journey had on your faith, your relationships, and your life.  I remain devotedly yours in Pilgrimage.

Scott Scherer is president of Catholic Travel Centre, which provides customized pilgrimages for more than 400 Catholic organizations across the United States. 

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From Pope to Saint: The Canonization of Blessed John Paul II

It is unofficially official.  The Blessed John Paul II will be canonized on April 27, 2014.  Earlier this month, the National Catholic Register reported Pope Francis let it be known that the much beloved Polish pontiff, who led our Roman Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005, would be made a saint on the Sunday following Easter 2014.

Pope-John-Paul-II-In-PrayerThe date itself holds its own significance, particularly related to John Paul II. The Sunday following Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration instituted by John Paul II in April 2000 – the canonization date of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who had a devotion to the Divine Mercy.  John Paul II died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.

The Path to Sainthood
In May 2011, the Blessed John Paul II was beatified, the third of four steps in the canonization process. In July of this year, the Vatican announced the Blessed John Paul II would be made a saint after the second of two miracles following his death were attributed to him.

The first miracle, which occurred just months after John Paul died, was the healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 2001. The second miracle involved a Costa Rican woman who was cured in May 2011 of a cerebral aneurism after her family prayed to a shrine of John Paul on her behalf.

A Canonization Pilgrimage
While we all await the official-official announcement of the canonization date from the Vatican on September 30, we at Catholic Travel Centre are ready!  For those interested in leading a group on a canonization pilgrimage, we have airline and hotel space reserved for the “rumored” date.

The canonization of the Blessed John Paul II has been awaited by Catholics for years. He is an epochal figure for our time, and his canonization promises to be an event of the decade.  If you’d like to join us on a momentous canonization pilgrimage, simply call or email us. We can be reached at (800) 553-5233 and Groups@GoCatholicTravel.com.

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A Choir’s Spiritual & Musical Journey to Italy

There is something special that happens in one’s soul when listening to a church choir perform sacred music. And it is particularly stirring when a choir sings in the beautiful, sacred spaces where choral traditions began. The choir’s voices become part of and are enriched by a place of worship that is centuries old, whose walls generously reflect back the songs of prayer.

Giving their talents to the grace of God in these places is often the pinnacle of a choir member’s musical, spiritual journey. We are fortunate to help many choirs realize this dream by offering Catholic Choir tours that weave together the art of the choir’s song, a spiritual pilgrimage, and a cultural journey for life changing experiences in the most renowned Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.

Churches and other venues, perhaps visited previously, take on a completely different feel when one is privileged enough perform in these spaces. And for fellow parishioners traveling with a Catholic Church choir on a spiritual tour, the experience is equally as moving.

In November 2012, we took the St. John Vianney Catholic Church Choir of Houston, Texas, along with other parishioners from their church, on a spiritual choir tour to Rome. Their paster, Very Rev. Troy Gately, led the group’s spiritual journey, with musical direction provided by Music Director Mr. Michael Madrid.

Listen and watch the video above, as the group’s leaders tell their story of musical spiritual pilgrimage and how their Catholic Choir tour led them to continue to grow in faith as a community.

 

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