This past weekend, over 6,000 Catholics made a walking pilgrimage from St. Michael the Archangel parish in Chicago to Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine in Merrillville, Indiana.
The pilgrims, many of whom were Polish-Americans, walked a total of 33 miles, stopping over Saturday night at a Carmelite Shrine in Munster, Indiana. The annual pilgrimage takes place around the Solemnity of the Assumption, which the Catholic Church celebrates on August 15.
Changing the culture does not mean seeking needless confrontation or going out of one’s way to “get in the face” of secular society. For most of us the work of changing the culture is one of daily tasks done well and cheerfully, or one-on-one conversations with other people, or raising our families to be good Catholics and good citizens, or doing what we can in the world of politics, media, and the arts to restore in this country a culture of true charity and virtue.
But sometimes the New Evangelization does mean taking to the streets. Not to march, but to walk. Not to protest, but to pray. To tread as pilgrims through the highways and the byways, past gas stations and schools, past factories and restaurants, past countless homes of countless people who are looking for some sign of hope, some sign that there is Something Other, beyond the “real world” of traffic and elections and bills and broken dreams.
Sometimes this is what it means to live a Catholic culture. To give living, breathing, flesh-and-blood witness to the Catholic Faith in the midst of the everyday landscape. To remind the “real world” what is truly Real.
We need more of this. In every big city and small town across America, we need more of this.
Read more about the pilgrimage here.