Chat with two of the Pilgrims
This morning I had a brief opportunity to speak with two of the young Friars who have been on pilgrimage in Virginia the past six weeks or so. Friar Richard Gooding (left) and Friar Clifford Hennings (right) were in Cincinnati briefly and were able to stop by the Vocation Office for a quick chat.
The enthusiasm and excitement for their experience was palpable. They are still on cloud nine, but I also sense a true humility as they spoke about God's providence and people's goodness to them on their trip. They each had stories of occasions when things "just fell into place" for them and their confreres. It was obvious that the Lord was with them.
I asked them about some practical situations like how did they do laundry and where did they get their meals. Clifford said that they did laundry at some of the homes where folks gave them shelter. He also said that he gained a little weight dueto the amount of food people offered they as they traveled. Drivers would come by with water and granola bars, folks would have them in for supper and give them shelter for the night, etc.
But both emphasized the fact that the real gist of the trip is beyond the stories. They headed out to "build the Kingdom by relationship," said Clifford, and that they did. He reflected that when you have nothing, you are open to building relationships. Richard says the he views them as a pebble thrown into the water which then ripples out. For example, often those who interviewed them along the way would later re-contact them in order to have a chance to tell the Friars their story. Both said that their fraternity is what impressed and attracted others.
The six Friars involved in the Pilgrimage are back to the reality of Francsican daily life with a renewed sense of commitment and a deeper faith in God.