Sodality Pilgrims Take Spiritual Bite of Big Apple

Posted November 21, 2013 / Last updated November 19, 2013

Print Print Email Email Share Share

From The Blue Jay, Vol. 86, No. 2, November 2013

By junior Jason LaHatte, The Blue Jay Staff Writer
Members of the Sodality had the opportunity to meet with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, following Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral during the group's recent pilgrimage.

Members of the Sodality had the opportunity to meet with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, following Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the group’s recent pilgrimage.

Blue Jays hit the Big Apple last month for a pilgrimage that was both spiritually and culturally uplifting.

The Sodality took 10 Jesuit sophomores and juniors on the journey to New York. While not as arduous a trip as pilgrims of old faced, modern travel does have its headaches. After a two-hour delay in New Orleans, followed by a 30-minute delay in Philadelphia because of bad weather, the group arrived in New York at midnight. There the adventure began.

A bus ride took us through Rockaway, a Brooklyn neighborhood, followed by a 1:30 a.m. subway ride into Jersey City, N.J. In the city that never sleeps, there are some interesting riders on the subway that late at night. By 2:30 a.m., we had arrived at our lodgings for the trip, St. Peter’s Prep, a fellow Jesuit high school in Jersey City, N.J., where we bunked down in their library.

Within a few hours, however, we were up and ready to explore the city. Our first full day consisted of typical sightseeing around Manhattan. A breakfast of traditional bagels was followed by a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walks through some beautiful churches, and even an impromptu game of football with a shoe in Central Park. The day concluded with a more professional sporting event – a Mets game at the new Citi Field.

Following the buzz of our first day in the city, the pilgrims began the more solemn part of their trip, traveling to Our Lady of Compassion Shrine in nearby Woodbourne, N.Y. The day at the shrine was marked by prayer and celebrating Mass. As our Blessed Mother is the patroness of Jesuit’s Sodality, the visit to the shrine was a particular highlight. In Sodality, we always pray for the intercession of Mary in our prayers.

Personally, learning that I can pray to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Compassion is comforting to know. While I pray to Mary every night, I never thought of asking her intercession in the form of compassion before. This new-found aspect of my own spirituality is one of the best results that I took away from this pilgrimage.

Our final day of the pilgrimage brought us back to Manhattan for Mass at one of the greatest churches in the United States, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, who also is an excellent speaker. His homily on why we need God in our lives was one of the most engaging that I have ever heard. Following the Mass, the cardinal graciously met with our group.

The purpose of the pilgrimage was to grow our relationships with God, and I feel that I have grown closer to Him. This trip has helped me to rekindle my spark with God in my prayer life. I feel good when I pray, and I am happy to go to Mass.

Membership in the Sodality has helped me grow in my faith in ways that I think I could not have achieved on my own.