Monday, January 13, 2014

Feast of St. Hillary, 2014

Praised Be Jesus Christ!

     As promised, I am beginning to post again on this pilgrimage blog. I cannot deny it to all those who are now requesting it, to all those who have so generously pledged the support of their prayers. For those of you who do not know, this past Tuesday, January 7, published an article about my pilgrimage. It was well written and expressed very faithfully my own thinking about the state of the Church and of the world. As a result, a large number of Life Site's readers responded and wrote to me directly, and I have promised them all that I would do this today. So here it is.
     For today's post I will keep it simple. I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona a couple of days ago. Yesterday I walked to the first shrine in the Phoenix area: the Perpetual Adoration Chapel of St. Peregrine in Mesa.

     Well, the above empty space represents a photo of the shrine chapel, but the blog site has given me no easy way to figure out how to post the picture. So that's it for today! Perhaps I'll figure it out tomorrow sometime....perhaps not. Now I'm beginning to remember why I stopped posting on this blog so many months ago....

Saturday, September 7, 2013


My Friends in Christ:

     In my last blog I said that "tomorrow" I would describe the salient details about my pilgrimage up to that point, since the first month of my journey had already passed. Well, "tomorrow" has turned out to be nine days long, and although difficulty finding wi-fi connections on the Kansas plains has been part of the problem, I have to confess my own lack of diligence to be the greater part. The Lord had in mind these vices of mine as well when He took me on this purge me of them. A greater freedom of conscience and a greater confidence to tackle the sins of our Church would be ours if we would only act upon the graces ever being offered us for our own perfection in Christ. I have much, very much to learn from our overly patient Lord, and from His Mother, and His Saints, and from my Angel.....
     Our Holy Mother Church allows her faithful a plenary indulgence for those who make a pilgrimage, under the required conditions, to the church of their baptism. This seemed to me the best place to start. At our baptism the whole drama begins! I was baptized in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, at the church of St. Cecilia. This first place of pilgrimage turned out to be providential in bringing me to understand in microcosm all of my reasons for undertaking this pilgrimage in the first place,and a foretaste of some of the difficulties that were awaiting me.
     When I arrived at the church, I found everything outside to be well kept but the doors of the church were closed and locked. This didn't really surprise me since St. Cecilia's now finds itself in the midst of a troubled neighborhood. So I went to the rectory to explain myself to the pastor and see if he would let me in to pray. (In a future blog I will list and explain all the prayers that I have chosen to pray at each shrine). No one was there. So I knocked some more on different doors but still no answer. Eventually, across the street I happened to see a plain-dressed woman coming out of a building that I previously had supposed belonged to the parish. I immediately thought that she was a nun both because she wasn't dressed like one and because she also wasn't dressed like any other woman would dare to dress. It turned out I was correct, and she immediately let me know that the church was closed. "Yes, I know. I just tried all the doors myself". "No", she replied, "the parish itself is no longer functioning. There are no more Masses said here, nothing, from about a year ago. There is another parish down the road and a little up the other side of the valley. All the faithful from St. Cecilia's go there now".
     I was crushed with disappointment. The church of my baptism no longer baptizes. There are no more Masses, no more weddings. Such a beautiful little stone church in the true Catholic style......empty! I was sad, then indignant, then angry. And I felt swell up within me everything that has driven me to this whole ordeal. We have failed You, Lord, horribly! Have mercy on us and help us! We don't know how to save ourselves!
     Well, I decided that I would try to find a way into my church anyway. So I went to the other parish on the other side of town to find the pastor there. The pastor was away. I found a retired priest who was about to leave to bring communion to the sick. He said that I should go back to St. Cecilia's cemetery and look for the groundskeeper, he would have the key to let me in. So I did.
     At St. Cecilia's my grandmother, to whom I was close, was buried. So while I waited for the groundskeeper to appear, I prayed at her grave. The groundskeeper I eventually found repainting the cemetery gates. He agreed to go back down into the valley with me and open the church for me.
     The air in the church was like a couldren. We entered through a back door and climbed a thin, spiral flight of stairs to a small, dark, very hot room. We walked over to the front of the room where a  locked door would probably lead to the poor church itself. But before my guide opened the door he first walked over to the front wall of this dingy, lonely room and parted two small red curtains oddly hanging there......What!? No! How can it be!? It is! It's Our Lord! Our Lord exposed in a monstrance, here, alone, forgotten, waiting.....for who?.......for me?
     When I came out of my stupor, I finally went down on my knees. Now I knew that my Lord wanted this pilgrimage of me. How could I ever dare another doubt? About this. About Him. About His Church. About any and all of His promises........

Pax Christi.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Thu, 8-29, Maple Hill, KS

     By the help of God, I arrived here at Maple Hill yesterday at about 2:30 pm, having left Topeka at 5:45 am. The trip was about 7 hours of walking after subtracting rest stops. The trip would have taken close to 2 hours less had I been permitted to continue on the more direct route of I-70, but a patrolman stopped me at around 7:30 am and told me I'd have to get off and find the back roads. So I did.
     For the first time today I had to grab the pepper spray that I have linked to my belt loops. A large dog ran me down barking furiously.(The dog was barking furiously). But since it was an Irish setter nothing came of it and I fortunately did not have to spray him. After a few minutes we both calmed down and parted ways. I told him I'd pray for him.
     The next major destination is Wichita, but I came a little out of my way from Topeka in order to come here to Maple Hill since St. John Vianney parish here is served by priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. I knew I could attend Mass celebrated with great devotion and attention to detail, and without arbitrary additives. They themselves have been helpful to me and generous. Such simple Christian helpfulness is exaggeratedly appreciated by a pilgrim like me who owns next to nothing, knows no one, is known by none, and is held in suspicion by many. May You bless them, Lord, in their work. Blanket the earth with such Christianity!
     Tomorrow I will try to write a brief summary of my pilgrimage during the first month (since I have already been on the road for a month now). I am still getting used to the technical difficulties of blogging and of this blog site in particular. The last blog got posted accidentally before I could proofread and make some corrections. Even though I write it, I may not be able to post it, since it seems I will be traveling into a large wi-fi blackout zone for the next few days.
     Before I forget, I want to be sure to remind all who read this blog to send prayer intentions. I will continue offering all my prayers and sacrifices along the way, with every labored step I take, and at every shrine I can carry myself to, for all of your personal intentions. There is no need to describe your intentions explicitly.....God knows them. Don't worry that they've been sent late....I've already been praying from the start of my pilgrimage for all the intentions that would eventually reach me.....but they must reach me. It would be best if you could send them to my other email address since it will be used almost exclusively for this:
     Pax Christi.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

     Friends of mine have suggested that I start a blog to record my experiences on this journey, this pilgrimage I have undertaken. Others have suggested also (some quite strongly) that I write some form of statement, a kind of "manifesto" which would describe what it is I am doing, and my intentions for doing it.
     My own inclination was not to create the blog for many reasons that I still consider to be quite good. However, since they are friends who have urged it, and since I am confident that my friends want only what is best for my soul (that is why they are friends), I have decided to do it.
     In June I left my work as a restaurant manager, either gave away, sold, or threw away everything I owned (except what I now carry on my back), and left my home in Newark, Delaware on pilgrimage and on foot. The pilgrimage is one of penance in reparation for sins.
     The way in which I will carry out the pilgrimage is as follows: I will do it all on foot. So I will not hitchhike or petition people for rides. The only rides I am accepting are those that people offer in charity of their own free will. In this way, by their charity, they also partake of the graces of the pilgrimage. The only exception to this is within cities where safety may require me to take short public bus trips within the city limits. I will sleep in a tent where I am given permission to place it, since I haven't funds to sleep in motels. I am generally dependent upon the charity of others for my sleeping arrangements. I am traveling in this way to 150 Catholic shrines across the country, many of them Marian, but also of Saints. I also consider all chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and all monasteries to be shrines as well. The significance of the number refers to the 150 Hail Marys of the complete 15 decade Rosary. In this way I hope to especially honor the Mother of God. Depending on how things develop, the pilgrimage should take close to a year, perhaps a bit more or less. Within not too long a time, I will also be dependent on the charity of others for my food, since I always knew that my personal savings would never be enough to sustain me. Poverty is part of the penance. But it is also conducive to a complete and exclusive trust in God, which is what our Lord most longingly desires from us all.
     No true pilgrim in the Catholic tradition can ever think but that he must do penance for his own sins first. Of my own sins, private and public, I have accused myself both privately and publicly, and do so regularly. But my intention, besides, is to do penance also for the sins of many others who do no penance for their own, in imitation of Christ. The Christian has this calling and this power by the very fact of being Christian.
     Our Blessed Mother, at Fatima, with the most urgent pleas, begged us to pray most fervently and do much penance. But in the last 50 years especially, with disingenuous sophistications, we have rationalized away what authentic fervor in prayer and penance really means. We have allowed our own clear Catholic vision to be clouded over by the smoke of Satan. And so, we now have the world in its present state. The world's present spiritual dilemma is essentially a Catholic problem.
     Most "manifestos" are written to protest something. Very well. Then I am protesting the presence of so much obstinate sin in our bishops, priests, religious and laity of our Catholic Church. I protest their obstinate adherence to a watered-down, lukewarm catholicism that has proven itself moribund for any who have eyes to see. This obstinate adherence to the lukewarm is by its very nature diabolical. So, yes, I protest all of this with every fiber.
     But social protest has never been and could never be the Church's principal means of obtaining God's grace for the purpose of conversion. For this, our Lord commanded prayer and fasting. And pilgrimages of prayer and penance have long been a Catholic tradition for this purpose.
     So my own purpose in this effort of mine is not so much to protest as it is to beg God's grace and mercy for the Church and for humanity. Specifically, I want to obtain for us the grace of more time, because time has all but run out. Time to bring us all more fully to conversion. And secondly, that God will now release upon the world the saints that must be waiting in the wings. They must be here now, because we cannot wait another generation. They are here, now, somewhere. They are perhaps very young or not so young, but they must be here, and they must start answering the call of grace now. They must rise up now and start crying in the wilderness, in the streets, in the churches. Their purity, patience, and fortitude must be irreproachable, because they will have to suffer much. Drink greedily from the pure sources of the grace of Christ, and respond now! We cannot wait any longer. Too many souls are being lost. Mercy, Lord, mercy! Be patient with us still!