One day, while I was converting this blog into a book, I overheard someone say that there's a mass at a nearby Catholic cemetery. This took me by surprise, because I thought I had been to all the Mass celebration locations. How could I possibly miss this? I honestly do not know, but I did. Mass is celebrated on both Memorial Day and All Soul's Day at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum in Salt Lake City. My 83rd location will be visited as I attend mass, this Friday at noon, God willing.
The final Pilgrimage stop was this evening in Gunnison, Utah. I was blessed to have been guided by our Lord as he taught me more than I ever expected during these past years. Sometimes you ask for one thing and are blessed beyond your expectations. Maybe that is where the expression comes from, "Be careful what you ask for." Now, I will turn my attention to turning this blog into a book. Please stay posted, because when I am done, the PDF will be posted for free download.
Yes, it is possible to complete a pilgrimage in a year. But sometimes, there are obstacles, detours or speed bumps that slow us down. I have only one mission left to visit as of this post. Since my first pilgrimage in March of 2012, life has happened and so has a lot of recovery. Everyone has a cross to bear and mine happens to be my health! The following are some of my health detours that have happened since the start of my pilgrimage:
Each time I have tried to get closer to God, Satan has knocked me down. In order to understand my pilgrimage and its significance, I needed to share some of the obstacles. This pilgrimage is a journey and search of spiritual significance. All things happen in God's perfect time. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. - Galatians 6:9
Honestly, I do not know. It's in God's hands, because His decisions are much better than mine. When I began this pilgrimage two years ago, my goal was to be completed in one year. My Spiritual Adviser informed me that pilgrimages in the bible have lasted many years. He went on to remind me that I was still recovering from brain surgery and I needed to set realistic goals. Fast forward a few years and I am still traveling to churches and missions. As of this post, I have journeyed to thirty-five of them. Still growing closer to God, I look forward to visiting the other forty-five. So I shall continue my pilgrimage, a sacred journey to encounter God through places, people and situations.
In order to answer this question I must first reveal some personal information about myself. My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years and have moved around 8 times. Each time we moved to a new location, my not-so-shy husband would take myself and our two kids to meet all our new neighbors. I appreciated his eagerness to establish himself, but just dreaded being the new people on the block. I've a deep empathy for the "new" neighbor, student, employee or parishioner. I have never wanted to walk in those steps again. Yes, I am an extrovert, but I dread not knowing anyone and sticking out and going out of my comfort zone. Perhaps I've an issue or two, but I am being honest. With that said, I have recently turned 50, survived brain surgery and have another half of my life to live, assuming I live to be 100. Yikes - I feel that a person cannot go through all that and not have it change them somehow.
I now have a strong spiritual need to grow even closer to God and venture out of that comfort zone. It's time to "meet the neighbors," visit other Catholic Churches and Missions. I look forward to meeting my Catholic Brothers, Sisters, Fathers and Deacons throughout Utah. The thought of faith and travel brings me to the meaning of pilgrimage which is a journey of spiritual significance. Utah will be my land to discover and to share with others.
Dear St. Anthony,
We are all pilgrims. We came from God and we are going to Him. He who created us will welcome us at journey's end. Please guide me back to the Lord when I am lost. Amen.
I have learned that all the planning in the world will not keep things from happening. Life changes and so does weather in Utah. But most of all, being a "self-diagnosed control-freak," it's time that I give up that control. Believing that God has a perfect and divine plan for me, He's now in charge! God will be the one to guide me to which church or mission to visit each weekend and continue until my pilgrimage is complete. What a sense of peace it is to just type that response, let alone live it.
I, Gracemarie, refuse to allow any negativity or church bashing on this website/blog. The purpose is not to evaluate the best church to attend, for it is so much more. It's a pilgrimage to draw closer to God. To discover a greater understanding of Him and worship Him throughout Utah. God is love. No negativity or bashing is allowed. Lord, please help me to open my mind, heart and soul. Help me to be passionate and positive and I ask my readers to kindly do the same.
I feel that if we punish and or bash our Catholic Churches in the name of doctrine, protection, or beliefs, then we will grow further from God . It’s a tight rope to walk, we’re not always going to get it right but that’s what striving for Grace is all about. The narrow path or tension on our rope is meant for balance.
Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. - Hebrews 10:22
Have you ever wished to take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and walk the very steps that Jesus walked? Perhaps a trip to Fatima, Vatican City, Lourdes or elsewhere but did not have the funds? With today's world problems it is time to reconnect to the source of all good things that remain on Earth and that is God.
The finances and such do not exist for my dream pilgrimages at this point in time. So, this will be my version of budget-minded, visit thy neighbor, Catholic Pilgrimage. This spiritual and personal experience will bring me out of my comfort zone in order to be the "visitor" or "outsider" each and every weekend. There is so much to see, experience and observe and all I have to do is take that first step - a leap of faith. If Peter, who took a leap of faith, an imperfect man, walked on water like Jesus did, then I can at least visit my neighbor churches, missions, stations, chapels and such. So, with that stated, it's time to start my spiritual pilgrimage and grow closer to God.