The Pilgrim's Journey

Where Holy Week (Semana Santa) is a tradition of its own

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: March 21st, 2023Camino de Santiago, Spain, Spiritual Reflections

Catholics around the globe share similar traditions during Holy Week—Stations of the Cross, Passion plays, and, of course, Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. But in Spain, the words for Holy Week—Semana Santa—represent an entire tradition of its own. It began as an effort by the Marqués de Tarifa to bring the tradition of the … Read More

Feast of Saint Joseph

Celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph all Month Long

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: March 28th, 2023Monthly Devotions, Saints, Spiritual Reflections

March 17 is celebrated throughout the world as the Feast of St. Patrick.  Catholics and non-Catholics alike eat, drink, and wear green.  Many cities dye their rivers green, and street festivals are not uncommon.  However, according to the liturgical calendar, this is not the biggest or most important feast in March.  In fact (on years … Read More

Gorzkie Zale

For a new practice, sing and pray the Polish traditional Gorzkie Żale this Lent

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: February 16th, 2023Featured Pilgrimages, Poland, Spiritual Reflections

Lent is fast approaching, beginning on Feb. 22. Before the fasting and abstinence of Ash Wednesday of course comes the feasting of Shrove or Fat Tuesday. Cakes and sweets and pastries, oh my! And don’t forget the popular Polish paczki—donuts filled with jelly or cream then deep fried and covered with powdered sugar, icing or … Read More

How St. Valentine’s Day was Lost

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: February 9th, 2023Saints, Spiritual Reflections

Many people will celebrate Valentine’s Day next week.  Most will eat chocolate, send cards, go to dinner, or showcase other romantic gestures.  Others may reference the “real” St. Valentine, for whom this day is named and speak of God’s love instead. However, according to the liturgical calendar, February 14th is actually no longer St. Valentine’s … Read More

Holy Month, Holy Family

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: February 3rd, 2023Monthly Devotions, Spiritual Reflections

During the Year of the Family in 1994, Pope John Paul II wrote a Letter to Families (Gratissimam Sane), encouraging everyone on their path to holiness.  Since we are all born into a family, we all have the opportunity to grow in holiness as a family.  Though each earthly family has its own unique quirks, … Read More

St. Sebastian – a brave Christian Witness

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: January 19th, 2023Spiritual Reflections

I’m part of a team that reviews letters from confirmation candidates (confirmands) to Archbishop Charles Thompson in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. We make sure that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed (in the technical, not the grammatical sense!) for the confirmands to go forward with the sacrament. In the letters, each confirmand notes the … Read More

New Year – New Devotion

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: January 12th, 2023Spiritual Reflections

The typical Catholic devotion for the month of January is to the Holy Name of Jesus.  This name was bestowed upon Him even before His birth (Luke 1:31), when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. St. Paul spoke of the greatness of his name in his letter to the Philippians, when he wrote “God greatly … Read More

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Model of Charity

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: November 22nd, 2022Saints, Spiritual Reflections

November 17 is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Given her work in feeding the poor, she could easily be called St. Elizabeth of the Hungry! This 13th-century saint is the patron of several causes, one of which is what she is most noted for in her lifetime: charity. St. Elizabeth was a princess, … Read More

St. Martin of Tours – The Reluctant Bishop

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: November 22nd, 2022Saints, Spiritual Reflections

On November 11, we celebrate the feast of St. Martin of Tours, often remembered for giving half of his cloak to a poor beggar.  Though mocked for this act of charity, Martin later received a vision from Christ saying it was He himself whom Martin helped. The figure in this vision was wearing the cloak … Read More

A Prayer for Souls in Purgatory

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: November 3rd, 2022Spiritual Reflections

In the Catholic Church, the month of November is dedicated to the poor souls in purgatory. These are those who have died, but not yet obtained the full glory of Heaven.  This devotion is most notable through the celebration of All Souls Day on November 2. Though often the theology of purgatory is thought to … Read More

The Messages and Requests of Fatima Revisited

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: October 14th, 2022Marian Shrines of Europe, Spiritual Reflections, World News

I was 9 years old when I checked out a storybook from my Catholic school’s library about the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to three shepherd children in Portugal in 1917. The story mesmerized me. I felt a bit of holy jealousy, since Lucia, one of the seers, was my age at the time … Read More

The Holy Rosary: A Beloved October Devotion

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: October 6th, 2022Marian Shrines of Europe, Spiritual Reflections

The traditional Catholic dedication for the month of October is to the Holy Rosary.  This tradition dates back to the late 16th century after the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope Pius V attributed the victory of the Holy League over the invading navy to the power of the Rosary.  He had called … Read More

A Humble, Most-Marian Month

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: September 22nd, 2022Marian Shrines of Europe, Spiritual Reflections

What month has the most Marian feast days? Surely it’s May, the month of Mary. Or perhaps it’s October, the month of the Rosary? Surprisingly, the answer is September. Three Marian feast days were celebrated this month: the Nativity of the Blessed Mother on the 8th, the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th … Read More

A Birthday Fit for a Queen

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: September 8th, 2022Saints, Spiritual Reflections

Yesterday, the world entered a period of mourning for the longest reigning English monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.  Her life and death have been marked with all the celebrations and festivities fit for an earthly queen. Over the next few days, or even weeks, there will be news reports, tv programs, special newspaper editions, and the … Read More

The Franciscan Crown Rosary

Andrea JoinesLast Updated: September 1st, 2022Italy, Pilgrims' Stories, Spiritual Reflections

Twenty years ago this spring I traveled to Rome for Holy Week and Easter.  I was studying abroad that year and before I left I told all my friends at the Newman Center that I was going to see the Pope for Easter and I’d love if anyone would like to join me. One friend … Read More