Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When I first came to St. Charles, I knew that I had a big pair of shoes to fill. In so many ways, I was given a blessing of a parish that had been strengthened by the ministry of its pastor, Fr. PJ. I also knew then that there were always going to be certain ways that I would never be the same as my predecessor. Different gifts and talents, variations in personality, shifts in cultural perspective all add up to rather different pastors. And while the parish seems to have adjusted to having a new shepherd with them, there also remains some reminders of
what has gone before.
You may recall that Fr. PJ was and continues to be a world traveler. Some of it is the result of his work as the Director of the Pontifical Mission Society here in the Diocese of Trenton as well as his sheer enjoyment of visiting and seeing new places. By contrast, I have been and will continue to be a bit of a homebody despite having the wonderful experience of studying abroad while in seminary. In fact, the furthest I’ve ventured since coming here has been to the Poconos this past summer.
However, that is scheduled to change this year. My friend, Fr. Dan Swift has asked if I would be interested in joining him for a pilgrimage in October, 2019. He and Fr. Joel Wilson are leading their parishes on an eleven day pilgrimage through parts of Portugal and Spain. While I don’t intend to be an official sponsor of the trip, I did want to relay some of its information to you in case you might be interested in joining. Seeing such cities and places as Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Santiago de Compostela and Finisterre (among others); it is a chance to see Marian shrines, holy sites, and even walk part of the Camino, the famous pilgrimage route that leads to the tomb of St. James.
It’ll be the first time that I’ve been on this kind of pilgrimage from a parish. I understand that Fr. PJ actually ran several pilgrimages of this type when he was stationed here. And depending on how the experience goes, I may be inclined to do the same in the future. However, if you have an itch to travel and see some holy sites, this might be a great opportunity for you. There will be information packets available in the parish office if you’re curious about what all it entails.
Peace and Goodness,