Mid-2012, I was out and about traveling because of a friend’s wedding. In a blog post, I apparently referenced a Facebook status where I had decided that if I’m traveling on my own, I’ll visit Catholic churches. I didn’t go searching for that status because that was totally hundreds (thousands?!) of Instagram posts, nonsense statii, and nerdy link shares ago.
I wanted to further speak to this idea of traveling with an underlying Catholic motivation, even if my primary purpose of travel is something else.
But before that, Jesus’ words come to mind when He commissioned His disciples at the end of Matthew:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Matthew 28: 18-20 (RSVCE)
Here, He gives His disciples the green light to spread His teachings and to assure them that He’s behind their efforts.
And my goodness! As I’ve dived deeper into my Catholic faith and learned more Church history, I find it incredible to see the fruits of the disciples’ efforts in making more disciples of all nations since the time of Christ. What this means is that a Catholic church can be found everywhere. This means that Mass is celebrated everywhere. Mass and the Sacraments are so crucial and essential because of Christ in the life of a Catholic, including this one blogging about said life. Not only that, because the Catholic Church (notice my change to uppercase ‘C’, in reference to the body of the Church as opposed to “church”, the building) is one, I can reasonably be confident that Mass is the same in Rome as it is in Antarctica, that Mass in Washington D.C. is the same as Tokyo, that Mass in underground China is the same as it is in Saskatoon just as much as Mass is Mass in Frankfurt and Sydney. And so on. The Sacraments are the same, too!
Therefore, because the Catholic Church is everywhere and unified as one, the opportunity to pursue an active Catholic faith as I’m traveling the world is always there. If I’m lost in the streets of Tokyo or flying to Philadelphia for less than 11 hours, I can still make effort to find a Catholic church and attend Mass. Or at the very least, to pray. Both actually happened in Tokyo and Philadelphia!
To visit Catholic places is the easiest excuse for me to travel when I’m out and about in the world. Sometimes the journey of trying to get to a Catholic church is enough to see unique and interesting sights when traveling.
I guess I’ve already exhibited this most recently. Just in the past month (30 days), I visited Catholic churches, attended Mass, and/or went to Confession in Japan, San Diego, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Philadelphia even though I went to these places for business and pleasure. In particular, I got to see a side of San Diego I’ve never seen before and Philadelphia has some amazing-looking churches downtown!
Here’s a list of places where I’ve traveled for underlying Catholic reasons:
- Tokyo, Japan
- Nagoya, Japan
- Hiroshima, Japan
- Manila, Philippines
- Saskatoon, Canada
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Phoenix, AZ
- Tucson, AZ
- Philadelphia, PA
- New York City, NY
- Washington D.C.
- Multiple California cities
- Multiple Texas cities
I fully expect this list to expand in the future. Perhaps even the near future. Sure, there are a bajillion reasons to travel the world, many places to visit, and many things to experience. And I can do those things and see those places and still be able to be in touch with the Catholic faith, no matter where I am or why I’m traveling. I can still pursue Christ and His bride, the Church, everywhere I go because the Church continues her mission in making disciples of all nations.
I have the opportunity to feel at home when I’m furthest away from home.
St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers, pray for us!