To be honest, most of my bucket list items are pretty simple - making memories with my family and friends and living a life worthy enough to earn me the heavenly welcome of "Well done, good and faithful servant" when I die. (Mt 25:21)
I do however, have a pretty specific Catholic bucket list that I would like to do and experience before I die.
I am blessed to have already checked off a few items on my Catholic bucket list - including a ten day trip to Rome which resulted in my conversion during the Jubilee Year of 2000 at a Mass celebrated by Saint John Paul II (really doesn't get much better than that). More recently, my husband and I had the privilege of venerating the relics of my favorite saint, St. Maria Goretti on the tour of her major relics to the United States. Seeing her relics had been a dream of mine for many years!
1. Read the scriptures and the catechism. Oh sure, I have read most of the Scriptures and the catechism over the years, but I have never read them both straight through - end to end. Maybe it's just my slightly over-organized personality, but I really like finishing books from beginning to end. Of all the things on my bucket list, this is the one that is most easily achievable (I think).
2. Learn Latin. I'm not talking about memorizing the Salve Regina in Latin - I'm talking about learning enough Latin to go back and read ancient church documents that are only written in Latin. (Can anyone say Catholic geek?) Ah well, tempus fugit, and this is going to take a lot more time than #1.
3. Pray a daily Rosary. This sounds almost too easy to be on a bucket list, but honestly, it is something I can't seem to ever get off the ground on a regular basis. I so want to be a daily rosary prayer, but know that I need God's help in sustaining this most worthy habit.
4. Take a Pilgrimage to Mexico. Of all the Marian apparitions, the one of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego has captured both my mind and heart. Having been involved in parish and diocesan evangelization work for over a dozen years, I am awed by how Our Lady's appearances led to the conversion of millions of pagan Aztecs - something that the Franciscan missionaries had been unsuccessfully toiling at for many years prior.
I love the tenderness and compassion which our Lady showed to Juan Diego and I especially love how the image on the miraculous tilma depicts her as pregnant with the Son of God. The fact that she is Patroness of the Americas and that I LOVE Mexican food makes this bucket list item a win all around!
5. Go on a week long silent retreat. Parenthood, teaching, writing, studying - my daily activities leave me little time for silence - both mentally and physically. For years now I have longed to go on a week long silent retreat, with no speaking (and no noisy internet), except the responses at Daily Mass and the Rosary. Honestly, I'm sure that entering into that degree of silence would be a shock to my frentic-paced mind, but I believe that after a few hours (ok, maybe days) of adjustment it would be a welcome relief.
6. Take a JPII Pilgrimage. Saint John Paul II holds a special place in my heart - he was instrumental in my conversion and his writings continue to be a source of spiritual nourishment for my soul. I would love to visit the town where he was born, the convent where he prayed for hours, prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament, upon being told he was made a Bishop, and the universities where he studied and taught at. However, the highlight of walking in the footsteps of our beloved Papa, would be to return to Rome and venerate his tomb.
7.Walk the Camino, I first learned about about the 500 mile pilgrim walk known as the Camino del Santiago, in Spain, at a conference during which I heard Father Dave Pivonka share the story of his own walk (Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles With Jesus). I was moved by the spiritual lessons Father Dave recounted from his journey and the whole idea of undertaking such an intense physical and prayerful pilgrimage has intrigued me ever since. Honestly, this item on my bucket list is probably the furthest out of my reach, but hey, that is what bucket lists are for!
What's on your Catholic bucket list?
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