Wisconsin Wonder: Wayside chapels and everyday pilgrims

Standing on the shore of a mountain lake at sunrise, you may not think you’re necessarily on a pilgrimage, but then you’re drawn toward a prayerful moment. You gaze into the raspberry and amber skies, as the lapping waves try to sing you back to sleep.

But you’re called to be present and aware of the awe.

Or maybe you hike toward an Alpine peak when you’re serenaded by birdsong; nature’s hallelujah. Again you’re very present in the moment; thankful and introspective, like a pilgrim. And then on the trail you literally see Christ on the cross.

A traveler, a pilgrim, before you thought to install a wayside chapel—a small, wooden structure to draw you even further toward God. These things are common in Europe, and in Wisconsin chapels created by European immigrants still pepper the countryside.

Today we round out our series on the Marian Apparition site in Champion, Wisconsin with a few more thoughts on making pilgrimages wherever you are. You don’t have to go far to travel deeply in prayer. Sometimes you just need to look closely around you and decide to spiritually get away.

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8: Blind Catholics Keeping the Faith in a Pandemic

Fr. Jamie distributes Communion

For some Catholics who are blind, the experience of the Mass can be very different than for sighted people. In normal times, it can be a tactile experience.

But not during the pandemic.

In Scripture, Jesus is recorded as saying where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them. And that goes for times when the two or three need to be two or three meters apart for social distancing. As with many Catholics, those who are blind have found technology as a way to continue to express their faith even when so much of life is disrupted. Many are also helped by an organization in New York, the Xavier Society for the Blind, which for 120 years has kept coming Catholic and inspirational materials in Braille and audio formats.

We’ll learn more on this episode of Faith Full.

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(In this episode we hear from four people: Skip to Donna Slivoski, Roger Erpelding, Fr. Jamie Dennis, or Malachy Fallon)

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7: Blessings on a German Breeze

Sunset with the episode title: Blessings on a German Breeze

The world remains gripped by a pandemic; an unseen, but very present coronavirus has caused us to rethink a lot of things: how we work, how we spend time, how we show respect and communicate. I’ve been sitting on a fun anecdote (from a German news site) for a while, and thought these dark days are as good a time as any to share. So coming up: the story of a giant Jesus Christ and the two German monks, in this short episode of Faith Full.

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3.5: A Grandfather’s Faith

“Grief can bring on death, and heartache can sap one’s strength. When a person is carried away…sorrow is over.”

The Book of Sirach contains a lot of wisdom but these lines above on death seem too callous to me.

It’s true, if we let grief consume us it can interrupt the lives we’re still blessed to live. But the funeral isn’t the end of the grieving process.

In many ways that process never ends, it just changes.

And sometimes part of that process involves a grandson’s story about his grandfather.

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