God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Seek The Lord While He Can Be Found

Cathedral Santiago de Compostela Picture via Wikipedia

Cathedral Santiago de Compostela
Picture via Wikipedia

In early September of this year, 2014, a woman friend – a devout Catholic – recently retired from her hospital work. She told me of her plans for next August, 2015; she hopes to make the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) Pilgrimage.  Her 1,000 mile journey will end at the Shrine of St. James in the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela (Field of the Star) in the small town of Galicia in Northwestern Spain.  The El Camino pilgrimage dates back to the Middle Ages.  This holy trail begins in a small town in Northern France and runs down the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains to Santiago de Compostela.  My friend told me that she and her friend would have to average about 10 – 15 miles a day over three months to complete the pilgrimage. 

Joyce Rupp, in her book, Walk in a Relaxed Manner, tells of her experiences in the hostels (overnight sleeping places) spaced along the well-marked 500 mile trail.  Her book is available on Amazon.  It describes the dirty conditions and the noise in the hostels, and her other experiences on the trail, all of which are part of the sacrifice in making the pilgrimage.   My friend hopes to draw closer to God with much time to pray as she walks together with her friend on the pilgrimage.

Back in 1975, after 31 years in the Priesthood, I felt a deep need to draw aside and re-think my priestly ideals. With my bishop’s permission I signed up for a 3 month Ministry Course with the Redemptorists in Dublin, Ireland.   On September 8, (the birthday of Mary) of that year, I flew to Dublin and brought my luggage to the Redemptorists’ House of Studies in Rathgar, in the south side of the city.  The next day I took a plane to Lourdes, France for a 3 day time of prayer to Mary.  I was the first priest in the Chicago Archdiocese to take a sabbatical.

30 priests from English speaking countries made up our Ministry Course. Over a period of three months, 32 speakers came to lecture to us about our Catholic Faith.  Of these men, Father Michael Hollings, from London England had the greatest effect on me.  He spoke of his love for all outcasts, especially the poor.  What struck me most was his belief in the powerful effects of an hour spent in Eucharistic Adoration.  His rectory back in a downcast London area, had swinging doors with the poor eating at his table every day.

He constantly preached Christ loves the drunks, the drug addicts, the women of the street. I prayed every day to be a priest like him and his beautiful attitude toward life.  The House of Studies had an inspiring chapel on the ground floor with large painted glass windows for walls.  As I made my Holy Hour each evening, I would stop before a large painting of Mary and Child, one special to the Redemptorists Order, and offered my future work in the priesthood to Her.  On stormy nights, with lightning so visible and rain slashing at the windows prayer came easily.  On hindsight, I am so happy I took time off to spend those three months away from home to renew my ideals.

Nowadays, few of our readers can take 3 months off to make the El Camino pilgrimage or a Ministry Course as I took. There are many small ways to think of a pursuit of Christ in life.  Perhaps, rise a half hour earlier than usual before going to work, school or beginning the house work.  Sit in a comfortable chair and ask ourselves two questions:  What part will God play in my life today, and will I see the Face of Christ in all the people I meet today?

Other ways: On the train going to work, instead of reading the newspaper, I can think of God’s place in the day ahead. Turn off the car radio and pray.  One last thought:  Now and then, spend an hour in the family cemetery.  Sit in the car and say, “I will end up here shortly, what am I doing with my life?”  Amen.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

October 4, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,


  1. Once again you wrote what I needed to hear today. I’m going to take some time out and think about how I can bring even more of God into my life. Thank you.

    Comment by Bartholomew Timm | October 4, 2014 | Reply

  2. Great tips, love this one

    Comment by Mike | October 5, 2014 | Reply

  3. A poignant reminder of how much we can and need to do…to draw closer to Him…each day & moment of our lives! Thank you always Fr. George for teaching us so much through your words, thoughts and actions. God’s Blessings, Love & Grace, marianne

    Comment by mcs | October 6, 2014 | Reply

  4. What a better world it would be if everyone arose and asked those 2 questions, wonderful suggestion, your so inspiring always in Christs name. Thank you, Debra Hurley

    Comment by Anonymous | October 7, 2014 | Reply

  5. This is beautiful Fr. Thank you. Karen Childs R

    Comment by Anonymous | October 8, 2014 | Reply

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