The Pilgrim's Journey

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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

The Fifth Gospel

Andrea JLast Updated: May 5th, 2023Featured Pilgrimages, Holy Land

In his Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord), Pope Benedict XVI writes:The word of God and the Holy Land 89. As we call to mind the Word of God who became flesh in the womb of Mary of Nazareth, our heart now turns to the land where the mystery of our salvation … Read More

The Best Time for a Pilgrimage

Andrea JLast Updated: April 21st, 2023Featured Pilgrimages, Guadalupe, Holy Land, Ireland, Italy, Marian Shrines of Europe, Upcoming Pilgrimages

This is a question we get a lot from pilgrims who call or email us.  The answer can vary based upon priorities and circumstances, but the simplest answer is: anytime! As there are many pilgrimage locations throughout the world, there is always somewhere to go, no matter the season. Summer Summer provides more opportunities for … 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 23rd, 2024Featured Pilgrimages, Poland, Spiritual Reflections

Lent is fast approaching. 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 glaze. (You’re drooling just … 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

Can you Renew a US Passport Online?

Andrea JLast Updated: June 9th, 2023News, Travel Alerts, US News

Yes you can! (Maybe) UPDATE 6/1/2023: According to the website, the pilot program has ended.  They hope to re-launch it for everyone at a later date. UPDATE 1/5/2023: Our staff member who tested out this process has now received her passport.  She submitted the application on October 27, 2022 and it was marked as … Read More

A Bavarian Christmas – and perhaps a pilgrimage

Natalie HoeferLast Updated: December 15th, 2022Featured Pilgrimages, Germany

Some Christmases stand out more than others for various reasons—a favorite gift, an idyllic snowfall, a Christmas where the whole family made it home. One Christmas stands out in my mind for family who wasn’t home. I have only one sibling, an older brother. We fought and squabbled like most siblings. But when he went … Read More