First, Christopher was already planning a bicycle pilgrimage from Holy Hill to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe between June 12th and June 18th. I knew that this would allow us to bike together and not place any added stress on him to bike the distance twice; and...
Second, after last year's "Bike for Marriage," I knew that we needed to maintain that route and the dates of travel, allowing us to again arrive at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help by June 26th (the anniversary of the Supreme Court's tragic decision with regards to marriage in our country).
That left only one leg of the journey to plan. It seemed to make the most sense that I start biking at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help and complete that initial, 130-mile stretch before joining Christopher. In that way, we could end the pilgrimage together.
As it turned out, God had another reason for the route to be what it would soon be.
On the morning of June 8, 2017, I biked out to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help from my place of lodging on the east side of Green Bay.
I left my bike in front of the visitors' center and walked inside to see what is a new addition to the Shrine (for me). On the wall, I found a copy of Bishop David Ricken's Decree on the Authenticity of the Apparitions of 1859. These words (excerpts from Our Lady's words to Sr. Adele) seemed to jump out at me...
I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners and I wish you to do the same... Go and fear nothing, I will help you.These words of Our Lady really are timeless. In that moment, they spoke to my heart and I knew the reason I must depart from this holy place and that it would be my mission to pray for the conversion of sinners and to return here.
As I knelt to pray the Rosary in the chapel of the apparition, I sensed a confirmation of the mission I was about to undertake and, in my heart, heard this question:
Will you trust me?I knew that, for me, that would be the greatest act of reparation... to truly TRUST God in the days ahead.
I had planned to get on the road after Mass and a light lunch, but again God had other plans and I was humbled to begin receiving prayer requests right there at the Shrine.
After sitting down to eat lunch and gather my thoughts a bit, one of the Fathers of Mercy blessed me and my bike and the journey began...