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A Pilgrim Returns from Catholic Pilgrimage, Heart and Faith on Fire


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Commentary by Lisa Ormond | FāVS News

“Gather your things, we are going on a journey”— is what Jesus said to me as I left my Moscow home to witness the first-ever Catholic National Eucharistic Pilgrimage (NEP) at the end of May. For me, participating in this historic pilgrimage in Idaho was a ‘coming home’ to my heart. It wasn’t merely life changing. It was a spiritual awakening.

What happened? I am still wondering, watching and waiting to learn more, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I received a spiritual blood transfusion from the Blessed Sacrament.

Miracle #1:  Arrival—A God Hug Given

Nothing was going to stop me from walking near Jesus in this sacred public procession of faith. I had significant obstacles that nearly stopped me in my tracks such as no travel partner, no lodging, a nearly lost cell phone and a sick husband. But God made it happen. A gift of grace received.

Miracle #2:  The Blessed Sacrament of Jesus in Motion

Having read the Bible and seen “The Chosen,” the historical drama based on the life of Christ, I knew with confidence that Jesus doesn’t keep a low profile once he decides to set out to do God’s holy business —whether it’s now or 2000+ years ago during his public ministry.

That turned out to be true for this never-been-done, pilgrimage that had eight stops across Southern Idaho as part of a nationwide Catholic Church NEP movement to lift hearts and build stronger faith among believers. 

In my mind, Jesus showed his essence of humanity by leaving the traditional confines of the church sanctuary to walk with and be among people on the streets, believers and non-believers alike. To walk and witness His Presence, to gather with others in solidarity around peace, love, and devotion, and to have my heart awakened was a taste of heaven.

I saw the ignition of love for Jesus firsthand on the faces of those I encountered and in the words they spoke. It was glorious! Shared sacred rituals, doctrine, and worship unified us by the hundreds in Mass, adoration, and during the Eucharistic procession, passionately in step following the monstrance containing our Lord. Purpose. Focus. I belonged and it felt amazing. Human harmony present in the purest and most holy form.

Miracle #3:  Falling in Love All Over Again

It was a beautiful and powerful moment in my spiritual life to be a part of this communal demonstration of faith as a follower. Words I heard spoken by believers I met at the socials, adorations, Masses and the Holy Spirit-infused sermons shared did not leave many dry eyes among those listening, including me.

I have shed soooooo many tears since returning from the pilgrimage. A steady flow of tears flowing from grace and healing my soul. Humbled. The heart senses ‘things’ that the logical mind often cannot. A stirring. This event was Eucharistic lotion in motion. I can guarantee you that on a spiritual level that any person who took time away from their busy life to be with Jesus was touched. It was impossible not to be. So many emotions came with the package of being a pilgrim. I fell in love with the Eucharist, Jesus, and what it represented all over again.

Miracle #4:  A Spiritual Explosion, A True Delight

Upon returning home with my heart-a-glow, I couldn’t still my mouth or my mind. I immediately had to tell others—friends, family, fellow parishioners, anyone—what I experienced. I felt gleefully consumed, teetering on overwhelmedness. Does a Holy Spirit descension and infusion of the Apostles on Pentecost come to mind? Curiously, I wonder.

In fact, I keep talking, writing, reading, thinking, and obsessing over all kinds of religious and spiritual ‘stuff.”  Like a sponge, absorbing all I can in private and in the church sanctuary. I am experiencing this monumental desire and hunger to learn and explore more about the Bible, pilgrimages in general, and the Eucharist. This makes me feel closer to God somehow. I’d say I’m still on fire from being in His Presence.

Abstract faith ideas and questions keep popping into my mind about a wide variety of topics that I find an immediacy about researching like: What is the difference between faith and belief? How come God let’s ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people? How do you know if you are truly surrendering to His will?

I’ve stepped back and analyzed this spiritual stir up in my being. In my opinion, I believe this is the Holy Spirit revealing my boundaries— showing there is time for silence, prayer, and reflection. And, in contrast, there is also a time to get moving and action. Balancing these two spectrums with grace and conviction is an important lesson about living with spiritual consistency and this balance mimics the way Jesus’ himself served others and his Father as he walked the earth long ago. Our Lord was a great example of how to live heartfully within your service desires and obligations alongside the harsh and sometimes overwhelming demands of the human world. Lean on God and seek others in your community for guidance and support is my takeaway.

Miracle #5:  Growing My Faith, A Doordash Delivery to Come 

My husband says I am still “all charged up from my Jesus journey.” Good, I say! Amen. Jesus showed up in Idaho, and I suspect he now wants to pass the torch along to us followers here. He has told me during my solitude walks, ‘Keep your head down and keep walking.’ Message translation: you are not alone, have courage, and trust me.

Because I’m human and broken, sometimes this is easier said than done. I am recognizing that even though I’ve been a Catholic for 50+ years, growing faith daily is damn hard work, and it takes spiritual stamina and a love for the Lord to do it.

I imagine and hope what begins now is an exciting next chapter of my faith journey, a holy vigil with awakened eyes, ears and heart, as the Holy Spirit finds its way to my door. As Apostle Matthew said in “The Chosen, “It’s simple. All I have to do is get up in the morning and follow Him (Jesus).”  Yup. Let the mystery unfold. I am ready.

The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

Lisa Ormond
Lisa Ormond
Lisa has a journalism degree from California State University, Northridge. She looks back on her career to date fondly having worked in various California broadcast news organizations, insurance public affairs and at both Washington State University and the University of Idaho. Lisa has an insatiable curiosity, love for learning and a passion for helping and giving to others. Born and raised in urban California, Lisa has joyfully lived on the Palouse for nearly 14 years. She cherishes the people, the lifestyle, the vibe and the beauty it offers. When not caring for her family and their crazy chickens, she volunteers, writes poetry, creates wood and rock art pieces and putters about her peaceful farm, which fascinates and inspires her daily. Spiritual growth is a priority in her life and a pathway for living peacefully with herself, others and her Lord.

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Walter A Hesford
Walter A Hesford
23 days ago

Thank you for this spirit-filled account of your spirit-filled pilgrimage.

Lisa Ormond
Lisa Ormond
23 days ago

You are most welcome. Walter! I’m glad it offered an insight to my amazing heart experience being near others and the Lord. I’m still reeling from it!!! Much to process…Appreciate your comment.

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