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A journey is defined as: “The act of travelling from one place to another”

In the Gospels we can read about many journeys taken by the Holy Family and the Apostles, beginning with Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, then on to Egypt to escape Herod, then back to Nazareth where Jesus grew up, with added journeys to and from Jerusalem.

After Jesus called his apostles, “Come follow me”, it was three years of non stop journeying, travelling with crowds of people,  learning, preaching and teaching.

After Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection into heaven, most of the apostles spent the rest of their lives journeying and preaching the Good News. Jesus promised to be with them always.

This Spring and Summer, many of us have journeyed, some by choice, others forced by circumstance, all of us hoping that  Jesus would be with us as we travelled.

This has been a forest fire season like no other and many of our brothers and sisters from the North have been forced to travel on long journeys to escape the fires.

These travellers were helped along the way by the kindness and generosity of strangers, with food and shelter, by firefighters, many of whom had themselves travelled on long journeys to come and help others.

In our Church community, our priests, just like the Apostles, following the Church’s guidance, came and went on different journeys, in different directions, to preach and teach God’s word. We will miss those who journeyed away from us, and we welcome with open arms Fathers Charles and Joseph, at the end of their journey to Grande Prairie.

Over the summer, many of us journeyed so we could be with family. There were family celebrations, family weddings, family birthdays and family funerals.

And now, many of us are beginning school year journeys from Kindergarten to University. Lots of “First Day of……..” or “Last first day of …….” pictures taken. On all these journeys, our travel companions make all the difference, whether it’s the person who always smiles, the child who gives out hugs freely, family members or friends who stop to chat or members of our Church community who help us on our way.

Then there are short public journeys many people participate in here in Grande Praire, whose purpose is to encourage and help others. For example, the annual Terry Fox Run. Here was a young man, Terry Fox, on the last part of his short life journey who gave such an example of courage, love and inspiration that, forty two years later, we are still continuing his great work, raising money for cancer research by participating in the annual Terry Fox Run here in Muskoseepi Park. What an inspiring journey!

Another important short public journey that many people participate in here in Grande Prairie is the “Walk to Remember” This takes place every year at the end of September and is to honour, remember and celebrate those babies who have been lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, neonatal and infant death. This celebration involves parents, siblings, Aunts, Uncles Grandparents, entire families. The babies’ names are read out loud and written on the sidewalk all around Muskoseepi Park. A short program is presented and then all participants walk around the path, until they find the names of the babies belonging to their particular family. Coloured chalk is provided so that the names can be beautifully decorated, many hugs are given and pictures taken.

The loss of a child is a very difficult part of a life journey, but here on this walk, the companions on the journey have all shared in a loss so this little journey provides a beautiful community of love and support for those who need it.

So now as each of us continues on our different journeys, let us remember to be grateful for all the companions God has placed along the way, gifts freely given to us to help, guide and inspire and let us also remember to be companions on the journey for others, “To act with justice, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God”

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