Yesterday, I had the chance to make a little pilgrimage with a good friend. We started with Mass at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg MD, then traveled to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Hanover, PA. Dating from the 1700’s this beautiful basilica, in the middle of farm country, is the oldest stone Catholic Church in the United States and the first US church Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesuits founded the church, which is now under diocesan leadership, but the Jesuit presence is clearly felt. Seeing relics of St. Ignatius, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter Canisius here was a blessing. This church, rich in history, was a wonderful place for reflection, before traveling to the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA, not too far from Philadelphia. Countless Jesuits were educated here, and we were able to spend a few hours in quiet prayer and reflection. This would be a great place to make a retreat, with it’s hundreds of acres of grounds, walking paths and quiet places to sit and relax. This photo of the St. Ignatius statue was taken here. Before we headed home, we stopped by the Jesuit cemetery on the grounds, and visited the grave of Servant of God Walter Ciszek, who spent many years in the Soviet gulag because of his priestly ministry. Overall, it was a wonderful, peaceful, prayerful day and oh how I needed it.
Each year, Loyola Press provides 31 days of web postings leading to St. Ignatius’s Feast Day, July 31st. They have been doing this for several years, and my friends and I love to participate. I hope you will too. Please join us here.
Have a blessed week, and let’s please pray for one another!