Youth across the Diocese of Virginia are embarking on pilgrimages far and wide – from the sunny shores of California to the rocky coastline of Ireland. They are walking alongside God as they embark on incredible spiritual journeys. Below check out church blogs that follow along and share beautiful reflections from youth.
Church of the Holy Comforter, Vienna
On Friday, July 1, 2016, five chaperones and ten young adults embarked on a one week pilgrimage to Ireland. Their blog gives a day by day review with beautiful youth reflections from the trip. As the author wrote, “To walk where so many pilgrims have walked before was very moving.”
Chris, a youth pilgrim, wrote, “For me, today was very meaningful. We took a boat out to an island that was filled with puffins, seagulls, and vast variety of other birds. As we were sitting on the rocks, looking at the rookery, I was thinking about how cool it was that God had made all of these creations, and I watched a bird fly in a figure-8 around the rookery, and it made me feel God’s infiniteness. Later on, when we got back, after not having hot water in the shower for the entire trip, we were able to use Aaron’s bathroom to take a hot shower, and I thanked God several times during it.”
Read more reflections and day by day posts about the trip on the Holy Comforter mission blog.
St. Stephen’s, Richmond
Youth from St. Stephen’s, Richmond who have finished 9th grade traveled from Los Angeles to San Francisco, June 20-28, 2016, following the stunning beauty of Route 1, and visiting Spanish mission churches. The group camped by the ocean and under redwoods.
Annie shared, “My high–less external noise and less internal noise. Felt connection to God with less distraction. Was able to be still enough for the scraggly knots of my inner world to be loosened and untangled.”
Daniel reflected, “The entire trip was fantastic. There was beautiful scenery I cannot describe in words, amazing things I did and people I met; but the thing that really stuck out was the way the group changed. I barely knew some of the people on this trip, some not at all, but by the time we were on the plane home, I think we all felt like a sort of extended family. The way we all cared for each other without ever getting angry or snapping at each other is awesome. Like I said, I feel like these people are part of my family. I feel like I know these people better than some of my closest friends, and most definitely better than myself. So if I had to choose one high, it would be the way the group grew and changed with each other.”
Read more reflections and day by day posts about the trip on the St. Stephen’s youth blog.
St. Paul’s, Richmond
St. Paul’s youth have spent the past year gearing up for their pilgrimage to Ireland, which is currently happening (July 8-17). The youth raised funds by selling fans at the bike race and putting together a Grown-Up prom in order to make this a reality. After being presented a list of countries, the group chose Ireland and gave presentations highlighting the cultural, historical and spiritual aspects of their destination.
Will, one of the youth, reflected after a visit to the monastic city of Saint Kevin at Glendalough by sharing, “In learning about the monastic city, the strength of these early Christians’ faith was clear. They dedicated their lives to living in relative isolation to build a stronger connection with God. This struck me as something powerful: simply witnessing the great intensity of others’ faith made me think more deeply about the truth in mine.”
Read more reflections and day by day posts about the pilgrimage as it happens on the St. Paul’s youth pilgrimage blog.
Is your parish participating in a pilgrimage or a youth mission trip this summer?