The Pilgrim's Journey

Healing Comes in Many Forms at Lourdes

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: August 25th, 2023Featured Pilgrimages, France, Spiritual Reflections

When I was young, the ligaments around my knees did not form properly. I struggled walking and bending my constantly aching knees—I actually walked sideways, and sometimes my parents even had to bend my legs for me. The specialist told my parents I would lead a life of little activity. I recall at age 6 … Read More

Upon this Rock

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: June 23rd, 2023Featured Pilgrimages, Holy Land, Spiritual Reflections

When I made my first pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2015, I was dubious about the authenticity of some sites on the itinerary. Highest on the list was a visit to Banias Springs—formerly the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi—to see “the rock where Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ.” The site is associated … Read More

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Tekton MinistriesLast Updated: June 22nd, 2023France, Spiritual Reflections

Sacred Scripture has a lot to say about love and the nature of God.  The first letter from John mentions love more than any other book of the Bible:Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not … Read More

Making third class relics in the Holy Land (and beyond)

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: June 23rd, 2023Holy Land, Spiritual Reflections

In 2015, I was blessed to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Everything I saw was new to me and filled my soul with awe—except one thing. One thing I’d never seen left me curious and confused. At different holy sites, there would be a star on the ground with a hole in … Read More

May is for Mary

Andrea JLast Updated: May 12th, 2023Marian Shrines of Europe, Monthly Devotions, Spiritual Reflections

May is the month traditionally devoted to the Blessed Mother.  It is also the last in our series exploring the monthly devotions in the Catholic church. Devotion to the Blessed Mother dates back to the early Church, with Church Fathers such as St. Ignatius, St. Justin, and St. Irenaeus extolling her virtues in their writing.  … Read More

Honoring the Blessed Sacrament in April

Andrea JLast Updated: April 14th, 2023Monthly Devotions, Spiritual Reflections

In April, the Church encourages a new or renewed devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  As the Eucharist is truly Jesus present here on earth, praying in front of or near the Blessed Sacrament is an effective way to be literally close to God. In the early Church, consecrated bread was brought to the sick and … Read More

Praying in the Garden with Jesus

Andrea JLast Updated: April 5th, 2023Featured Pilgrimages, Holy Land, Pilgrims' Stories, Spiritual Reflections

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

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: May 18th, 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 JLast 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 JLast 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 JLast 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 JLast Updated: May 12th, 2023Monthly Devotions, Spiritual 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