Thursday, July 30, 2009

From the Desk of the Walk Leader

As I look over our blog, I notice that many (if not most) of our entries are silly. While this is an accurate depiction of our communal life--we're a joyful and rambunctious crew--there are many sobering and serious moments as well. Whether it's praying the rosary in front of an abortion clinic, encountering the shattered lives of despairing homeless, or being jeered by passing motorists, there are times on the Walk when laughter is the farthest thing from my mind. But somewhere between these extremes of mirth and gravitas are indefinable moments of mixed emotions, so poignant that they leave an aftertaste.

Not long after the Walk began, my walkers began calling me "papa." At first I chuckled at the new nickname but as day blended into day and week into week I accepted the role and forced myself to see the paternal aspects of my job. But being a dad is no easy task and I've found myself contemplating the whole "fatherhood" thing. My spiritual director thinks that this can only be good for that whole discernment thing.

It's been difficult to say goodbye to my "children" who've left over the past few weeks. Like a dad who keeps staring at an empty place at the dinner table when his baby goes off to college I find my ears straining to hear Ludwig's absent voice when we chant the office or Marie's chuckle when I crack an exceptionally corny joke. When I'm rounding a hill at the end of a walking shift I keep expecting to see Martha behind the wheel of our van or Taryn typing on her iPhone to answer one of Nick's Franciscan questions. I miss seeing Jeff and Michael discussing the intersection of philosophy and economics or Sam giving a lesson on Church history or Maggie showing Dee how to properly stretch the hamstrings while Regina sings a Veggie Tales song.

For the next few days I have to contend with the very noticable absence of my co-pilot Dave. This summer has been a blessing for me--while Dave and I have lived together for six months and we were already good friends, this summer has really deepend our bond. Thankfully he'll be back soon.

I am really dreading the end of this walk. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have my own bed and the constant promise of a shower, but I would sooner walk for three more months (on feet layered with blisters) than see all my "children" disperse and go their separate ways. There's something special about this bunch. They bless me in so many ways... and they don't even realize it.

Gotta run... the kids need me to help them with their sore ankles.


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Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.