Monday, August 27, 2012
We had a Saturday surprise visitor: Pilgrim George. We had heard of him from time to time in Bishop Bosco's weekly column, A View from the Bridge in our local diocesan newspaper. With Bishop Bosco's retirement, we no longer heard of Pilgrim George's travels, but when he appeared on our doorstep, it was like welcoming an old friend.
Pilgrim George stayed with us overnight and shared his story and travel tales with us over supper. He has walked around the world four times and his patchwork habit is made of old blue jeans. And yes, he carries spare patches and mends it as needed. His sandles are made from tires, and he replaces the heels every 3,000 miles.
His vocation is to be a pilgrim. In his own words, as he was nearing ordination (after 12 years of seminary training), he knew all kinds of head knowledge but didn't have the heart knowledge he felt he needed to be a priest. Taking a leave of absence before priestly ordination, he made a pilgrimage from Spain to the Holy Land. It was there that he heard his calling: to be a pilgrim.
In his travels, he lifts up the Cross of Christ on his pilgrim staff and ministers to those he encounters on his travels. It's not unusual for folks to stop and talk with him, walk a piece with him, or offer assistance. When not on pilgrimage, he lives as a hermit. And yes, he has a Facebook page.
God bless you, Pilgrim George! And may your travels always bring you and those you encounter closer to Christ!