our

A Pilgrimage to Mexico and The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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out of the blue someone said father it

will be really good if we do a

pilgrimage to Mexico one of the goals of

our diocese is to bring the two

communities together you know the

Anglophones and their Hispanics and we

thought it would be a good idea so that

we can bring the two communities

together and that's how it all begun we

had people who didn't really speak a lot

of English and people didn't speak a lot

of Spanish so this was a kind of a

unique and intense experience of church

for these folks that they could see

everybody worshiping Christ and drawing

close to Christ so often working for the

church it's easy to help others but you

tend to forget to feed your own soul and

this pilgrimage really allowed me to

take that moment for myself and for my

relationship with God and for him and I

to reconnect you can learn a lot about a

culture by reading about it but you

really don't get to know the culture

until you actually experience it

I went to this pilgrimage to learn more

about their culture and everything that

makes up a country through its people it

was the people that drew me to the

pilgrimage and I think that this one was

right on the mark

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at the beginning I had a few fears but

being there and yet seeing them the

interactions that took away my fears

right away because yes by this the

smiles the way they will talk to each

other I help each other in different

circumstances at that moment I thought

yes this would not be okay I really

appreciated the way that they organized

the trip where we started in Puebla and

had that build up so we started small

and kind of built up to the experience

of being at the Basilica of course

Puebla is like the Venice of Mexico

Puebla is just extraordinary

it was beautiful and you could really

feel the faith that those communities

had I loved being in these beautiful

churches it just made my faith deeper

the little rule that I have with

pilgrims myself as a spiritual leader is

the first thing we do when we go into

churches first we pray then we can take

pictures because we're not tourists

we're pilgrims and there is a difference

we went to st. Dominic's and had massed

in the rosary Chapel and it was

floor-to-ceiling gilded gold super

ornate hand carvings that just floored

me I had never seen anything like that

for me as a priest is is is wonderful

it's a great honor to say Mass and

different churches during the pilgrimage

and share a great aspect of our faith

with the pilgrims I think it's important

to have our faith season that we can

renew our enthusiasm and our joy and see

the beauty of the faith God wants life

wants us to flourish wants abundance

wants to see us flourish wants to see

the beauty wants to bring out the beauty

in our lives and you can see that faith

alive when you're a pilgrim with the

thousands of other pilgrims at the

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in

Mexico City

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if there is a word that ties together

our scriptures today with our

celebration here at the Basilica of Our

Lady of Guadalupe it can be summarized

in one word pilgrimage you might not

have caught the Spanish gospel today but

it's about how we are to travel he tells

us disciples that when they are to go on

a journey there to take nothing then he

names of things they are not to take no

gold no silver no copper for the money

belts no sack no second tunic no sandals

not even a walking stick what did you

bring for this pilgrimage the list of

what Jesus commands His disciples not to

take is actually a list of what a

well-planned pilgrim would take on a

pilgrimage Jesus seems to be suggesting

to disciples that when they go to preach

their to enter the homes of those they

are serving as if they were entering the

sacred space of the temple our time away

on pilgrimage ought to help us to return

to our daily life with great reverence

and great Hall we can return to our

daily routines with a freshness and an

appreciation that our desire for God our

tasks placing God at the center of our

lives is not something we do alone

no no this great place of pilgrimage

mines us that there are literally

millions of others all around the world

who desire the very same may we stand

figuratively speaking around this altar

with only one tunic trusting that the

providential God will provide the rest

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had a moment a moment of grace in this

pilgrimage I was just walking by myself

and just a moment of feeling fulfilled

feeling that what I'm doing as a priest

is the right thing that I'm doing just

feel with warmth and happiness it was

just a beautiful moment

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it takes all of us to see Christ it

takes all the languages all the cultures

all the devotional expressions to be

able to fully enter into Christ it's

about Christ God loves us so much that

he sent his mother in a form that the

people of that time could identify with

because he wanted them to know him

better that love and sacrifice that he

showed really overwhelmed me that day

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the other side of the coin in a

spiritual pilgrimage is the reward of

meeting new people and having prints and

relaxing when we went to the Palacio de

Vegas of this it was so amazing I was

actually looking forward to that trip I

had heard about the Palacio de Bellas

Artes and I loved ballet folklórico

to be able to see the dancers from the

different regions of Mexico it was just

such an amazing show

I love the bigger image because it's

also a lot of fun they see me more

spontaneous they see me more at ease

with things definitely they see me in a

different way I don't have sustained

contact with a regular set of

parishioners which is why I appreciate

as a bishop going on a pilgrimage

because I get sustained contact I missed

that

having been a pastor it was our last

night together as a large group and

everybody kind of just was relaxed and

maybe some folks had a shot of tequila

it was like the frosting on the cake the

cake was all of the other events the

frosting was coming together as a group

now feeling extremely comfortable with

each other and we just simply had a

great time

I didn't do any dancing but I was

dancing in my heart because I want

looked around the room and everyone was

enjoying themselves so yes it was very

very nice

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you know this idea about pilgrimage

it's about people walking together

towards God and he goes back from the

time that you know even though Lord

Jesus went up to Europe in a pilgrimage

seeing the Great Temple where God dwells

where God lives

so this same idea continues in our time

the inability image is the church the

people of God are walking together

towards our goal which is God no and

we're going to different places used to

reminds us of that that at the end of

the day we are on this earth wearing a

little pilgrimage one day we're gonna

see our Lord

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