Trail of the Saints
Fr. Peter Daly
November 16, 2006
My parish is pursuing holiness, by bus.
We have started a program called “Trail of the Saints.” Every month or so, we take a one or two day bus trip to learn about those who have gone before us in faith.
parish is located in Southern Maryland, where the Catholic Church first took root
in the English speaking
been to St. Mary’s County, where the English Catholics first landed. We saw the
partially reconstructed “brick chapel” which was the first Catholic church in
this part of the world. We have also visited two churches which both claim the
title of oldest English speaking Catholic Church in the
The “Trail of the Saints” isn’t just about learning history. It is about learning holiness.
On the way, we pray and celebrate mass. We also learn a little about what motivated our ancestors in the faith. We try to understand their moral, social and religious problems and see how their faith formed them.
we have at least a year’s worth of short trips around us. Beyond Southern
Maryland we have the newly restored Basilica of the Assumption in
The idea for this ministry came from our stained glass windows. A few years ago we built a new church. In the windows we included a history of American saints. This fall it occurred to me that it would be great fun to learn about each of these people and see where they lived.
won’t get everywhere shown in our windows. I doubt we can get a parish trip to
This idea of learning “on the go” has proved hugely popular. We have no trouble filling the bus. I think nearly every parish could do a “trail of the saints.”
First you need a good leader and organizer.
Our leader is Ginny Romero. She is the perfect hostess; happy, warm and welcoming. She loves to go places. She also loves to “do lunch” with the girls, which is an essential part of these trips.
Then you need places to go.
Pilgrimage sites exist everywhere, because holy people have lived everywhere.
In the Southwest you have more Spanish missions and beautiful monastic communities.
There are a
lot of resources for this sort of holy travel. The
No matter whose shrine you visit and no matter what history you pursue, the message is the same. Holiness exists in every age and in every place. It can be found everywhere, if we look for it.
Once we learn to recognize it in others, we may even find holiness in ourselves.