Sunday, September 12, 2010

Get Thee On A Pilgrimage (just a little one)

In the first chapter of The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, Lisa Hendey (she's the founder of and a fabulous writer and blogger) talks about ways we can nurture our marriages. While I'm not planning to talk about the book much in this post (I do want to share a lot more about what I'm learning as I read, as well as some additional thoughts about focusing my priorities around Christ, in a future one though), I do want to tell you about one of the "Mom's Homework" assignments that Lisa suggests at the end of each chapter--the one that says, "Make a pilgrimage to the church where you were celebrate your anniversary." (at the end of Chapter One, p.11) We have been talking about doing this for years, and decided that now would be as good a time as any, even though our anniversary was more than a month ago.

Fortunately we live close enough to Southern Maryland, where I lived for two years before we married, right down the road from the little church where we celebrated the Sacrament of Matrimony, to make a day trip of it.

On our wedding day fifteen years ago, the weather was sunny, hot, and humid here in Hollywood, Maryland. Today it was cloudy and damp.

There used to be a crucifix here, but they've replaced it with a painting of--I presume--St. John Francis Regis (I've never heard of him, but now I'm curious to find out more about this Saint), whom the church is named after. I had always thought the patron of St. John's was John the Evangelist, Jesus' beloved disciple.

That's the deacon who gave the homily this morning. Archbishop Wuerl had presented a pastoral letter to the Washington Archdiocese this weekend urging people to be evangelists. He talked about this in his homily, since evangelization was also a theme in today's Mass readings (especially the Gospel reading from Luke, with the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin and the prodigal son.) As we were leaving Mass, Deacon (?) was standing in the back; and when he shook my hand in greeting, he asked me, "Are you ready to be an evangelist?" A chill went up my spine.

(UPDATE: I was browsing through our wedding photos recently, and I noticed that there was a curtain hanging behind the altar, with the crucifix in front of the curtain. I'm wondering now if the painting had always been there.)

You can kinda see what the front of the church looked like when we married. Now there is a new altar and a new tabernacle (as well as the painting). You can see the bottom part of the crucifix an the curtain behind it. As for the people in the photo: I was thinner then; and both Joe and Father Jenkins had more hair, too.

This little shrine to Our Lady was here when we were married, but I never visited it since I wasn't Catholic at the time.

After Mass we drove across the Patuxent River to Solomons Island.

Moe liked the diamondback terrapin who lived in the touch tank.

When Curly and Moe pressed their faces to the glass, the otters decided to check them out. They would swim right up to the glass, and examine the boys' faces, swim away, and come right back again. A couple of times it looked like they were trying to lick them. So cute, just like puppy dogs.

Before heading home we took a stroll on the pathways behind the hotel where we had our wedding reception.

Next time we'll stay for a whole weekend. Maybe we'll go camping. We'll visit Calvert Cliffs State Park, where they say you can find fossils galore. We'll visit Historic St. Mary's City where English Catholics settled in 1634, and could practice their faith freely without persecution. Maybe we'll go fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. One thing is certain--we aren't going to wait another fifteen years.

If you haven't already, go on over to, and see what you think of my new blog, where I've combined cooking with Nicholas Sparks. Even if you're not a fan of Nick, maybe you'll like it--at least, I hope you will! :) Have a blessed week, everyone!


  1. What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and these great photos! I loved reading about your "homework" pilgrimage.

  2. Thank you, Lisa! It was a great day, and long overdue.


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