Sometimes you have to leave what’s familiar to discover what is most beautiful, most profound, and most meaningful precisely in your ordinary life. A pilgrimage is one of the best means for doing just that: departing from what you know in order to return anew. But pilgrimage is not just any kind of trip or travel, it is instead an intentional journey made to encounter Christ, or rather, to allow him to encounter you. Being open to that encounter can be hard work, it takes time and preparation and a willingness of spirit. Christ is always a courteous guest––he may confront you but he never forces his way into your life or into your heart. He waits for you to welcome him in. To be formed well for pilgrimage means, among other things, learning how to welcome Christ when he comes to you, learning how to seek him more willing, and learning how to love him who always loves you first.
My guest today has dedicated herself to the ministry of helping form people for pilgrimages, which means that she is committed to helping others encounter Christ well. Joan Watson is Pilgrim Formation Manager for Verso Ministries, a Catholic pilgrimage company that specializes in not just the logistics of pilgrimage travel but also the spiritual and communal formation that makes encounters with Christ more meaningful and lasting. Joan came to Verso Ministries after years of serving the Church in catechetical and other formation ministries, as well as engaging in her own work as a speaker and writer who focuses on raising up saints in ordinary time. She joins me today to talk about the spirituality of pilgrimage, the forms of formation, and the transition from the extraordinary experiences abroad to enriching everyday life back home.
● Learn more about Verso Ministries at versoministries.com
● Listen to Joan Watson’s pilgrimage podcast, “In Via”, at https://versoministries.com/in-via/
● “By Sea and By Air: The Journey of the Gospel,” essay by Leonard DeLorenzo about pilgrimage in Church Life Journal
Church Life Today is a partnership between the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and OSV Podcasts from Our Sunday Visitor. Discover more ways to live, learn, and love your Catholic faith at osvpodcasts.com. Sharing stories, starting conversations.