Showing posts from 2021

Walking to Loreto

The idea of making a pilgrimage, that is, journeying to a place of spiritual significance, is commonly understood by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but as to what may be entailed by an Ignatian pilgrimage might require some explanation.    Basically, such a pilgrimage is undertaken after the example of that perennial pilgrim St. Ignatius of Loyola, who wanted to follow the steps of the first disciples of Christ, who were sent to preach without any provisions (Mt 10:5-16, etc.), and to rely entirely on whatever God would provide. It was in this spirit of trusting in Providence, that I, too, set out for an eight-day foot pilgrimage in Italy, with one travelling companion, no money, just a razor and a toothbrush between us.   We were both, it should be said, living in Rome and discerning our vocations. A pilgrimage such as this was both indicative of our youth and anticipatory of the consecrated life to which we were drawn.   Our destination, we decided, would be the Marian shrine at

Will Pemberton, RIP

My first encounter with Will Pemberton was in December 1997 in the snowy wooded landscape of Combermere, Ontario. We were working at Madonna House, where the days were spent splitting firewood, shovelling snow, and peeling large amounts of vegetables. Only 18, he was the youngest of the male guests, but he was also among the most thoughtful and articulate. While the rest of us played cards or Scrabble during our moments of free time, Will usually played his violin, to himself or to whoever would listen. Music was just one of his many languages. I met Will again a few years later while visiting a seminary in British Columbia. It was the annual school concert, and rising from the sea of talent was the tall, ruddy man from Parry Sound. He led a schola in sacred polyphony and played some raucous folk songs on guitar, his melodious voice and booming laughter filling the gymnasium. He once told me that during seminary he decided to learn one Irish song per day for a whole year. Consequently