By Sister Mary Ann Ambrose
My curiosity peaked at a Deanery B9 meeting months ago when it was explained Bishop Robert Brennan hoped to initiate a Diocesan Lenten Pilgrimage with Eucharistic Adoration at station churches. This sounded like a great idea, given there is a National Eucharistic Revival.
Being the bulletin editor at St. Ephrem Church in Dyker Heights, I mobilized the Eucharistic Revival page to include word of the Lenten Pilgrimage. My excitement really grew when the list of station churches was released. A member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph for nearly 40 years and only ministering in the Diocese of Brooklyn, I had a connection to many parishes on that list. I looked forward to returning to people and places that were part of my heart.
Any journey is better with friends. Sister Susan Wilcox, CSJ, accompanied me to St. James on Ash Wednesday, Day 1 of the pilgrimage. Diane DeBernardo shared how she saw the pilgrimage in The Tablet.
While we have not traveled together, we do check in with each other about our discoveries along the way. By Day 3, I had two other companions in the car as we headed off to Bay Ridge. Not only did I have companions in the car, but those I saw at St. James sitting in pews were now recognizable in other churches along the way. We found ourselves smiling at each other as we sat in the presence of the Lord. We heard each other’s voices as we prayed with members of parishes along with those who came from a distance.
And so, it began. By the second full week of the pilgrimage, the car was at capacity with four to five pilgrims, all in possession of a passport, and we were off. As of this writing, we have completed 33 days of the pilgrimage, and I have been to more than 35 station churches. It is my hope to complete the journey.
Looking back over these past 33 days, I have much to be grateful for. First, I am fortunate to be in a parish where the pastor, Father Robert B. Adamo, shared the details of the pilgrimage and encouraged my travel each day. Remember, 15 miles can take 90 minutes to two hours one ways. The exeprience has opened conversations with several people I did not know previously. Truly a gift to hear about someone’s faith journey.
Perhaps the greatest gifts have been experiencing great peace and calm sitting with the Lord.
My heart has been full of the many memories of those who have been a part of the colorful strands of the tapestry of my life. This journey has brightened those colors and brought faces and names to the forefront of prayer. Where will the Lenten Journey take us next year?
Bishop Brennan, thank you for the invitation.
Sister Mary Ann Ambrose, CSJ, is the director of faith formation at St. Ephrem Church in Dyker Heights.