The Pilgrimage of This Life: A Letter from Father Maximo

Life is a pilgrimage. We come from God and we return to God. The path that we take is extremely important, lest we get distracted and forget about our final destination. This summer 35 students have been a part of a historical international pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Loreto and Medjugorje, the first one ever. These two weeks have transformed our souls by inspiring us once again to run towards the goal set before us! In Rome we were able to climb on our knees the steps of the praetorium which the Lord endured with loving strength. “What have you done for Him, what would you do for Him?” The Holy Father affirmed us on our efforts for building strong evangelizing communities. Visiting the rooms of St Phillip and St Ignatius reminded us that the place doesn’t make the saint, but the saint transforms any place… even ordinary and humble quarters. The four major basilicas… and let us admit, enjoying great food!! All of them important components of the pilgrimage. Then: Assisi! World’s capital of peace. Why? Because God’s Peace conquered the hearts of two ambitious disciples, Francis and Clare. Those two devoted their lives to God, and to forming disciples. Then they announced that Love is not loved… winning souls over to the peaceful tenderness of the Father. In Loreto we invoked the shielding power of God upon all families. All forty of us pilgrims, sheltered within the three walls that once protected the Holy Family, prayed that the walls would be shaken by a new Pentecost for all Catholic families! Our final destination: Medjugorje, where we stayed for a week. Medjugorje (medʑuɡoːrje) could be hard to pronounce; so, here are some other names given to the place: Mary’s Land, the world’s confessional, and the school of prayer, among others. All of them fall short in describing the experience of what happens there. Hearts are open, prayer takes priority over anything else, the cross of Christ becomes the measure of our lives, the Eucharist our food for the journey, and lives are re-oriented in the right direction. Conversion. Holiness. Perspective. Direction. We are pilgrims. Now we can come back home, our pilgrimages continues until one day we can embrace Him on the other side of the finish line!

I miss you all in Corvallis.

Greetings from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit,

Father Maximo

Father Maximo Stock is the director of the Newman Center at Oregon State University and a priest of the Saint John Society, a Society of Apostolic Life founded in Argentina dedicated to the New Evangelization. Recently, he joined several dozen students from our community and the campus ministry from American University as they traveled to Europe on a pilgrimage.