From June 16 to June 26, I had the absolute honor of accompanying Archbishop Jerome Listecki (Archdiocese of Milwaukee), Father Richard Simon (of Relevant Radio Fame- “Father Simon Says”), Dr. Dan Scholz from Cardinal Stritch University (my husband) and 47 other fellow Catholics on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul.
I thought I would share some of our travels and some of my insights from this epic journey. This was my first pilgrimage and my first visit to the countries of Turkey and Greece, where Paul traveled, delivering the Gospel message to Jews and Gentiles alike in cities such as: Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi and Thessalonica. His letters to these first Christians in these cities make up 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament of the Bible.
We landed in the historic city of Istanbul, once named “Constantinople” and the former center of the Roman Empire. I was not prepared for the absolute beauty of Turkey, where Istanbul is located. I was also surprised to learn that Paul’s travels involved frequently sailing the Aegean Sea from this port to visit his missionary cities. It is hard to imagine the difficulties and storms that he faced in order to bring the Good News to these people. To breathe the same air, to touch the same water and see the same cities that St. Paul traveled was a powerful connection to his mission and his letters. He writes, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:13-14).
St. Paul is truly a role model for us to live out our calling and to work to bring the Good News of Jesus to as many as we can.