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Chris Lyford

notes from a pilgrim

Month

April 2014

John Paul II at Candlestick Park 1986

We had taken the bus to Candlestick Park from Santa Rosa, and had to be there an hour before the Pope arrived. Since the Pope’s 1986 visit to the City by the Bay was ‘post May 13th 1981’ security was ever presentJPII_CandlestickP

Nonetheless when John Paul came through the tunnel waving from the popemobile suddenly the place got smaller and we were all family. You could almost sense the angelic detail that escorted this loving, smiling ‘father’ as if to say ‘he is special’ we want you to love him too.

MP-head_s2Michael Pritchard whose son I ended up teaching at Marin Catholic and whose bellowing laughter I often heard at St. Vincent’s home for boys in Marinwood as Fr. Daly (now Bishop Daly of San Jose) dalyopened up his Sunday homily with a fr dalyhumorous anecdote, was the family smile; the chosen mc.
For the millions of faithful who ended up seeing him face to face as he traveled throughout the world, we few 70,000 still felt like we were held in his heart like family.

Little did I know that the girl from the ‘young adult group’ on the bus that I sat next usbackthento on the on the way to the ‘sermon on the mound’ was to become my bride three years later, and after almost 30 years, four kids and two grand kids later, dad mary and shainathat I would be producing the (current) Archbishop’s radio hour and taking reports from Rome at the canonization weekend of John Paul the Great!

 

May 1st will be three years “Home-Free”

On May 1st my beautiful, faithful, ‘pilgrim family’ will celebrate 3 full years of fasting from living in a home we can call our own. It’s one of the most powerful experiences and certainly the most pivotal in each of our lives to put everything in storage and 10155611_832448773438068_7220046563533551162_nventure out into the very palm of God’s hand and to watch Him reveal his care for us. Only with a clear invitation from the Holy Spirit, and with confirmation from our spiritual director would we even consider such a radical thing. It’s not for everyone for sure.

Today as I write this I sit in Castle Rock Colorado, at my daughter and son in law’s  kitchen table, my daughter Selah will give birth to her second 10174977_832519520097660_5425372153267661287_nchild, Maybelline Collette Rauwolf. Their little family had been through an amazing pilgrimage of their own, and it’s so comforting to know they are settling in to their new home. Now I am praying with all my heart, and with Blessed John Paul II’s intercession (he can do one more miracle before the 27th right?) that I find a home for my family in the San Francisco Bay Area where my new job of three months is just now beginning to hit second gear. I am sincerely thankful for the 1896814_811566298859649_697046770_nexperience of these past there years, which I promise to now begin to detail in this humble blog, but I think it’s about time we establish ourselves a new address. Our friends have always known that it is a wise thing to ‘only use pencil’ when writing down our address, and the past three years have been even more like that, but we are more than ready and very excited to find a new place to call home. There are so many signs God is moving powerfully in our lives and in the whole world, but we are especially excited about what is in store for the Bay Area, and for this Pilgrim Family.

562219_195015630619694_1883509907_nThe thought of having a PO box for a home address would simply ‘freak some people out”. The feeling of not having a familiar bed to be able to look forward to lay down at the end of the day is an unsettling feeling, especially if it goes on for a week, two months, a year, three years… How on earth could we survive as an intact family three years of this ‘un-settle-ment’? And Why?

One way to describe it is to say “families all around us are falling apart in so many ways because of the pressures of this culture, we wanted to affirm the fact that our family is built on the solid foundation of an authentic, uncompromising faith in God and in the Sacraments of His Church, and yet since we are imperfect, we jumped at the chance to grow stronger as a family, and secure our connection to the foundation of our existence fastening ourselves to that foundation through the gifts of 10154475_832522120097400_9125825754681275877_nhumility, poverty, joy, faithfulness, forgiveness, perseverance, love, and hope”.

St. Luke’s Gospel quotes Jesus as saying: “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Is Jesus saying you have to be homeless in order to follow him? No.

But He IS saying you have to be willing to be homeless for His sake in order to call yourself a follower. We all as Christians ought to be vigilant in searching fearlessly our inner hearts to test ourselves and see if our faith in God is for real, or if we have unconsciously, if not artfully fashioned for ourselves our own comfortable ‘custom cross’ to carry.

Notice I didn’t say you have to want to be homeless? Who really wants to be homeless? Every Christian has an eternal mansion that Jesus Himself is building in the next world as He promised, so we all have a final destination in mind on this pilgrimage called lifejpii

Even so we are hoping now since I am working back at the Archdiocese of San Francisco in the Chancery I left six short years ago, that we will find a new (albeit eternally temporary) home to move ourselves into. Our hope is to fin a place around San Rafael, CA. Vickie’s Dad is going to start chemo soon and we want to be able to be close to he and Vickie’s Mom an
d their family in Windsor, CA.

So pray for us to find a place wherever God wants us by May 1st, and then we can say St. John Paul the Great, thanks for the
hike! We started on May 1st 2011 the day you were beatified, and we hope to make it a perfect three years to May 1st 2014 within the Octave of your Canonization!

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