Two of my children were in Europe for World Youth Day last summer, and in thanksgiving for them having made it safely, and in prayer for their safe return, I decided I would do my own pilgrimage—a walking pilgrimage.
I’m not much for the long walks anymore, though I managed twenty miles a couple years back with my son’s Boy Scout troop. My knowledge of long walks and walking pilgrimages was confined to Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines and those favorites of J.D. Salinger, The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way.
But what started as a bit of an internal whim grew to more of a sense of commitment. Though she worked close to my area of Denver, and I’ve always had a sense of historical interest in her and the Italians in Colorado, I’ve never had much of a devotion to Mother Cabrini, (though the “Steak Cabrini” at “My Brother’s Bar” is very good), but when you think of a pilgrimage in our area, you are generally thinking the Mother Cabrini Shrine near Golden on Lookout Mountain. You will sometimes see walkers near there along with the usual mountain bikers. And once I ran into a group of people, priests and a brother, mothers and fathers with children, and a rather attractive outré, Gothic girl, walking together along Zuni, and when I asked, one of the men told me they were headed to the Shrine. They were from the St. Pius X Society church out in Watkins, St. Isidore’s. Regarding the outré girl, you’ll see artsy types at times attracted to the Tridentine Mass. Which reminds me of the famous letter signed by a number of British artists and writers in the sixties, Catholic and non-Catholic, including my favorite writer, Rumer Godden, protesting the loss of the Latin Mass. Now doing an ancient thing brings contradictions in these modern times; it isn’t like we have a clear Walsingham Way marked in the dirt at our feet and in the hearts of ourselves and our neighbors. So on to the Internet seeking a map.
I did a Mapquest that I wasn’t sure I trusted, and lo and behold I then found the Watkins church’s pilgrimage route. It turns out that they do the pilgrimage once a year, this year late August, and they, children, nursing moms, outré girls, et al, walk all the way from Watkins, over twice as far as I.
Of course, being a McGrail, I did little other advance prep and got started on a Friday Continue reading