What, you've never heard of this humble spot? Back in 2004 I wrote an article for the NCRegister about our annual pilgrimage to the Virginia Highlands ... we came when we lived in NC, we came when we lived in SC, we came when we lived in Austria, we came when we lived in CO. And, now that we're only 5 hours away ... we can come EVERY year!
We, a large group of Catholics, have come for the last 33 years to this Christian Camp in the itty-bitty mountain town of Craig Springs. Traditionally, this pilgrimage is held on Father's Day weekend as we embraced the family ... that's the point, to build the family up, to pray for all families, and to help all families.
Fr. John, the "mastermind" behind the pilgrimage, read out the purpose of the pilgrimage (quoted from the 30th section of the historic Human Vitae):
30. And now as We come to the end of this encyclical letter, We turn Our mind to you, reverently and lovingly, beloved and venerable brothers in the episcopate, with whom We share more closely the care of the spiritual good of the People of God. For We invite all of you, We implore you, to give a lead to your priests who assist you in the sacred ministry, and to the faithful of your dioceses, and to devote yourselves with all zeal and without delay to safeguarding the holiness of marriage, in order to guide married life to its full human and Christian perfection. Consider this mission as one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time. As you well know, it calls for concerted pastoral action in every field of human diligence, economic, cultural and social. If simultaneous progress is made in these various fields, then the intimate life of parents and children in the family will be rendered not only more tolerable, but easier and more joyful. And life together in human society will be enriched with fraternal charity and made more stable with true peace when God's design which He conceived for the world is faithfully followed.
The purpose in a nutshell: to build up the family ... which builds up the Church ... which makes the world better for one and all.
The accommodations are not luxurious (after all, this is a pilgrimage!) ... but are always memorable.The time is well-spent with family and new and old friends.
We come to play -- playing a BIG multi-generational/gender softball game... or swimming in the REALLY cold pool (filled from the run-off of the mountain spring)
... to rest and nurture each other and our families... and throughout it all, we celebrate our faith and our Church by receiving the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation and the gift of prayer and meditation ... We just got back ... there's tons of laundry ... but the work getting ready, getting there and coming back are so well-worth it! The weekend is a blessing and a grace-filled time for us all ... we can't wait to go back next year .... wanna come?