Posted June 23, 2016
Of John Wayne, Midwest Jesuits, and St. Xavier
In one of the most iconic western movies of all time, John Wayne’s character uses a term that would come to be identified with him. An impersonator might say, “Well … what are you waiting for, Pilgrim?”
The line comes from the film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” and it starred not only Wayne but Jimmy Stewart and a naïve lawyer from the east. Wayne mockingly referred to him as “Pilgrim” since he was in new and unchartered territory by his way of living. The term ‘Pilgrim” was used no less than 20 times in the movie. The term fit, because “a pilgrim is one who is on a journey to seek conversion.”
This weekend, many of our friends at St Xavier are returning from their pilgrimage to Peru, and so we pray for their safe return and wait to hear of the stories. But not everyone can make a pilgrimage to distant places like Peru, or Rome, or even the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. We need not travel great distances to be a pilgrim. Conversion can take place much closer to home. In fact, this Year of Mercy affords us a wonderful opportunity to be a pilgrim. Yes, Pope Francis has declared several locations to be pilgrimage sights in Rome, but he also asked the bishops to do the same in their own diocese.
Here in Cincinnati, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr has declared several sites official pilgrimage locations. (See the full list at www.catholiccincinnati.org) Called “Sojourner Sites” these sites were chosen to help pilgrims connect with other cultures be they rural, Vietnamese, urban, Hispanic, Burundi, etc. For many years now St. Xavier has been a partner with St. Leo parish in North Fairmount. (See article to the right) Our monthly tithing benefits their community. We have collected food, health and hygiene items, and supported their efforts with our prayers. This year, St Leo Church is one of the Year of Mercy Sojourner Sites. Located at 2573 St. Leo Place at Baltimore Avenue, St. Leo invites all to make a pilgrimage to this holy location. The doors are open from 9:00-3:00 Mon thru Fri and Sundays 10:00-4:00. Saturday’s 6:00 PM Mass is celebrated in Spanish and the Sunday 10:30 Mass in celebrated in English and Kirundi.
In order to receive a plenary indulgence by visiting one of the pilgrimage churches, Catholics need to fulfill the following conditions: pass through the “door of mercy” of the pilgrimage church, make a profession of faith in the church, pray for the pope’s intentions and the pope himself, meditate on mercy while receiving Communion, and receive the sacrament of Penance, both during a period either 20 days before or after visiting the pilgrimage site. That’s a pretty good way to spend the summer holidays, and all it takes is a little time, an open mind, and a willing heart.
So… “what are you waiting for, Pilgrim?”
Deacon Tim Crooker