Read for Virtual Washington Pilgrimage

For you, dear reader, who does not find him- or herself on the bus with us to Washington, so that you, too, might hear the words and thoughts of the goofy priest the young people have with them on the bus…


A holy pilgrimage. A pilgrimage lifts us out of our usual day-to-day routine, so that we can really ponder a very important question: Who am I really? Who are “my people?” Where is my true home? My home that is not an address which can change with the passing of time, but a resting place for my soul, a home that I can always find, no matter what happens in my life.

Pilgrimages of…Abraham, Moses & the Israelites, Elijah, St. Joseph and Blessed Virgin Mary to Bethlehem, the Holy Family to Jerusalem…

What is a patron/patroness? Blessed Virgin Mary has many aspects of her personality. What is her Immaculate Conception? The Basilica = the church for the whole United States.

shrine basilica immaculate

Two pilgrimages for everyone all over the world to make:

1. Rome. Why? Pope and martyrs; catacombs.

2. Holy Land. St. Francis traveled there. Franciscan custody.

Franciscan Monastery: Gives us access to these two pilgrimages.

Franciscan Monastery

Hopefully, this holy pilgrimage will remind us of who we truly are. We will see some phenomenally majestic places, some places that lift our minds up to God and to His saints. What the Lord will be trying to tell us is: You belong here. You belong with this beauty and this transcendence. Because you are my chosen one.

When we reach a place of pilgrimage and let the Lord remind us who we are, and where we truly belong—when we recognize our true selves again, we inevitably realize that there are ways in which we have betrayed ourselves. We have not always acted in accord with our true identity.

du_georgetown_logoA pilgrimage brings that fact more clearly into the light, and it makes us sorry for our sins. I compare who I truly am with the way I have behaved, and I am not satisfied. I need to unburden my soul of the ways that I have strayed.

So I go to Confession. And the Lord gives me a fresh start. And He showers me with grace to help me to be who I really am. Because I can’t do it without Him. Who I really am is someone who has God for a best friend, with all the rights and all the duties that such a friendship involves.

…One other sacred destination. What happened last Saturday? Hoyas beat the ‘cuse. Wednesday night? Hoyas beat UConn. Rutgers tonight. Villanova Wednesday. ‘cuse next Sat.

Our job: to root hard enough tonight not just for a win against Rutgers, but for the ‘Nova and Syracuse games, too.

Rembrandt Prodigal Son

“Coming to his senses,” the Prodigal Son thought…

…What am I doing in this pig-sty of self-destruction and foolishness? Am I such a loser as to live like an animal among animals? Don’t I have a home somewhere else? Don’t I have a father who treats even his servants with more gentleness, humanity, and respect? Who am I really? Am I some kind of glorified ape? No. I am my father’s son. I know I always have a home with him…

We are here to start fresh from: who I really am. And who I really am is: someone who belongs here in this grand basilica. Someone who belongs among the saints. Someone whose number-one best friends forever are: God, Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Francis, and all the saints. Who I really am is: A believer.

That’s how it all began: My believing parents carried me to the baptismal font and professed the Creed of the Church in my name, and I became who I really am: a child of the Almighty Father, a brother of the only-begotten Son of God, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Consecrated for eternal life.

Because this is the Year of Faith, and we are in a papal basilica, we can obtain a plenary indulgence by reciting the Creed, praying to our Lady, making a good confession, and receiving Holy Communion.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial
with the Father;
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven, (bow down)
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary, and became man. (stand up straight)
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic,
and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Ave Maria purisima…sin pecado concebida.

3 thoughts on “Read for Virtual Washington Pilgrimage

  1. Father Mark,

    Been to Rome; been to the Franciscan Monestary in Washington, D.C., N.E.; been to the Basilica of Mary Our Queen in Washington, D.C., N.E.; haven’t been to the Holy Land (turned down an invitation five years ago for Pat to go there because I thought it too “dangerous”; now wish I had told her to go, and gone with her; but we still have grand plans to go to Jerusalem and to Turkey for St. Paul’s haunts).

    But, the central question is, “Why go much of anywhere if I’m still going to be there?” How about going to Eastern Europe or Russia and being told that the Tourist Bureau has the only Mass times and places? How about going pretty much anywhere to beautiful — but empty — cathedrals.

    First, look within; I think you’re absolutely correct with confession being the first step; but I do wonder if being a compuslive fan for the Hoyas is a worthy sin for confession.

    Good luck on your pilgrimage. By the way, the Franciscan Monestary in Washington, D.C., N.E., is the biggest bang for the buck in my book — great grounds, great history, great sanctuary, and sufficiently out of the way from the clutter of downtown.

    In God we trust.



  2. We couldn’t have asked for a better guide for our pilgimage! Thank you for taking time to be us; to show us that, as God’s children, we are worthy of being in places so majestic and beautiful; for leading us in our first rosary flash mob; and for still smiling even when the kids asked if they could take a picture with the Hoya “puppy”!

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