Clare County Review & Marion Press

May I Walk With You? Journeying together

A long time ago, 1300s, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a lengthy work called The Canterbury Tales. A group of people were on their way to Canterbury in England to visit the large cathedral there. As they walked along, each told the story of their lives to escape the boredom and to pass the time more easily. Included as pilgrims were a priest and nun, a noble man, and a butcher and some lower status people. Young and old, male and female, rich and poor, tradesman and laborers, leaders and followers, journeyed together. Pilgrimages are an ancient theme as we recall the crusades, the Jews going to Jerusalem at Passover, and the Muslims traveling to Mecca. Even today, many travel to the Holy Land from all over the world. Some go to sites of Marian Apparitions. Perhaps the migrants entering the United States may be viewed as pilgrims as they look for a better life.
In a very real sense, we are all pilgrims as we journey together for a short time on this Earth on our way to heaven. As we live and walk together, we share our stories, our blessing and joys, as well as our sorrows, our grief, our difficulties, traumas, and frustrations. One person said to me that a joy shared is doubled, while a sorrow shared is cut in half. I noticed that even at our Lenten fish fries, people are lingering after eating; just siting, talking, laughing, and “sharing their stories”. Perhaps the best course of any meal is the visiting and comradery we experience with others. I’ve noticed that people have a certain peacefulness, calm and relaxed aura as they leave. It’s good.
The theme for Synod 2021-2023 called for by Pope Francis is “Journeying Together”. The Pope wants us to gather in each parish to explore how this is happening, and to give us an experience of “Journeying Together”. Partially, to make this happen we are having Listening Sessions in which each participant will be able to share what is going well in our parish and lives, and to share what our worries, concerns and frustrations are as we travel together toward heaven. These sessions will take place after the 4:00 pm mass on March 19, on March 20 after the 9:30 am mass, and on March 24, after 5:00 pm Stations of the Cross. Snacks will be provided. Msgr. Koper, Lisa Benic and myself will be your hosts.
These sessions will not be focused on why things are the way they are, or to place blame anywhere, or to create plans for change. No one will be judged or asked to justify or defend their experiences, but just to share their thoughts and feelings in an atmosphere of acceptance, empathy, validation and affirmation. I am hoping that everyone can attend. Let us “walk together” as we journey toward heaven.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May He let His face shine upon you and give you His peace.”

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