A Road on a Map…

…isn’t necessarily a road in reality.

As we enter the final few days before the feast of St. Ann, I’ll offer a few last minute thoughts on the pilgrimage.

As some who were on the pilgrimage last year know, things don’t always go as we plan, and part of the pilgrimage experience is to be open to whatever God desires to give us. We cannot control all of the elements of life, we can’t even control as much as we’d like to think we can, so we should develop the habit of abandoning ourselves to Divine Providence. Sometimes that seems pretty scary, but ultimately it’s a liberating spirituality.

During the final preparations for the pilgrimage I have been supported by the kindness and generosity of the many people who are contributing to the success of the endeavor. I have also had to step back from a couple things and receive unexpected correction, which is also good. Lastly, there are the things that had to change simply because they wouldn’t work. One of those things, namely, choosing the route, makes a good analogy for the pilgrimage and the spiritual life as a whole.

For the most part, the route and stops will be the same as last year. There are, however, a few changes. The first is that we won’t be camping at St. Joseph’s on Friday night. Instead, after the 3pm Mass at St. Joseph’s on Friday, we’ll walk for another hour to camp on the property of some welcoming residents of Esmonde. The Mass at St. Joseph’s is integral to the pilgrimage; however, the living parishioners make better hosts than the deceased ones.

The second major change is that we won’t be walking up to the intersection of Foymount Road and Opeongo Road. Rather, the route will turn off of the Opeongo Road onto Lake Clear Road. Taking a few factors into consideration, such as the lack of shade along the road up to Foymount and the fact that Foymount is very high, I decided to change things up and walk along the lake. In my zeal to keep things interesting, I also decided to turn off of Lake Clear Road early and take Rodden Road. On Google Maps it looked like a good idea! However, when I drove out to Lake Clear this week, I found a surprise: Rodden Road isn’t really a road – despite what Google Maps tells me.

I gave it a go, and my “rugged” Ford Focus took me through one stream, but I decided not to chance the second.

  

Sometimes “good” ideas don’t work out, and that’s okay. I won’t make the pilgrims walk through a swamp to get to Cormac. The Lord has a plan for us, and a real road seems to be a part of that plan. Although, the swamp would help the Bishop’s joke that the pilgrimage should be called “Fr. Murray’s death-march”.

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