April 2018

I Went on a Pilgrimage

Fran Whelan


During Lent itself, I went to at least one night of each Church Mission I knew of,I attended an evening with Fr. Richard Rohr at John XXIII, 2 nights with Fr. Kevin Codd at St. Therese, a night with Fr. Jimmy Marchionda at Holy Rosary, and finally a night with Fr. MikeDemkovich at O.L. of the Annunciation. I had written about these Missions in an earlier View. 

Well, I gotta say, after taking my own advice, it did help me to prepare for Holy Week, and more importantly, the Easter Triduum. Because of my work schedule this year, I decided I could be a “Dominican” pilgrim and vist the “Dominican sites” around Albuquerque. (Not a Mayflower type of pilgrim, but rather a Camino de Santiago type). It’s been 4 years since the Diaspora and I wanted to celebrate the Easter High Holy Days with fellow ex-pats. Jesus had sent His disciples out 2×2 and so did Saint Dominic send out his friars 2×2 when it was time. Now, it’s not like I hadn’t been to these other places in the past, but not all during the Triduum.

Holy Thursday started at St. Therese, my home parish. Fr. Vince Chavez always does a beautiful bi-lingual Mass. And for the past 2 years, Deacon Mike has performed the washing of the fee of the RCIA candidates. There is such compassion he pours out with the water as he gently washes each person. It is a privilege to participate in such an intimate act of agape, love.

Good Friday was a 3-part journey! Because I finally got Good Friday off in a very l-o-n-g time, I decided to do 2 things I wasn’t able to do before. The Urban Way of the Cross and the 3:00 PM service at St. Therese. Many moons ago, I regularly attended the Urban Way of the Cross. Chimayo was always too long and Tome Hill was always somewhere mysterious, yet, it was its emphasis on peace and justice issues, always relevant to current issues. Also, a few miles around town is about all my feet can handle, especially tripping and falling a week before on the Walk for Our Lives March. (I am still recovering – thank you for asking) I saw certain ex-pats I knew I would see there who are involved in Bread for the World, Albuquerque Interfaith, FOCES, and state politics. We all attend different parishes or the Norbertine Abbey who, by the way, are attracting more and more ex-pats. The crowd these days is not as large as in their haeyday, but there is something to be said about a group of 200 people witnessing around the inner-city of Albuquerque.  

At 3pm, I got the pleasure of being the 1st Lector at the service at St. Therese. Again, Fr. Vince made it a very reverent service./ The altar was stripped bare the night before and the hymns were simple and appropriate. People venerated the cross adn there was a simple communion service.

Good Friday evenings I relegate to John XXIII so I can get my “Steve Herrera and Bethany Herrera fix.” Ex-pats understand immediately. Also, John XXIII is the new home of the old Dominican cross we always used on Good Fridays. 

Holy Saturday I spent down at Holy Rosary hoping to run into ex-pats. Sadly no, because many have migrated south to the Abbey. I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. I almost walked out but glad I didn’t. It was a standing room only 3-hr Vigil Mass with 19 people being baptized and confirmed. It was also Fr. Bob Campbell’s last Easter Vigil as pastor of Holy Rosary. Though he is a Norbertine, he has a little Dominic in him – being on the D+E+I Board with me. I also got to hear a familiar voice during the reading of Exodus: Kris Coffey. It was good to celebrate with Kris. My favorite part of the whole Vigil was when we sang the Gloria and the vibrant Youth Group came in with lilies and streamers and paraded across the altar and up and down the aisles and decorated the chapel for Easter. 

Then on Sunday I returned to St. Therese for Easter Day Mass at 10:00am. Another Mass I never attend because I usually go to Easter Vigil at St. Therese.

So what did I learn from my pilgrimage? That like the seeds that are scattered, we bloom where we land. Each ex-pat has landed where we can bloom and take root and bring beauty and Sunshine. More importantly, we landed where we are also cared for and nurtured and loved.

Thank you, St. Therese community, for allowing this seed to land in your garden!

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