DL and Joseph Pearce at Oxborough Hall

Catholic Herald in the UK asked for an article about my recent pilgrimage to England with Joseph Pearce.

My 10 years as a Catholic layman in England was somewhat of an exile in the wilderness. It was therefore with mixed emotions that I accepted biographer Joseph Pearce’s invitation to be priest chaplain on a pilgrimage focusing on English martyrs and literary figures.

Up to the last minute I was regretting my decision. I had too much to do. I had my parish and my family to consider. Did I really want to go through the travel, the jet lag and delays only to spend a week on a coach bouncing around the congested roads of England with a bunch of enthusiastically ignorant Americans?

In fact we had a glorious time and the result was a surprising conversation with our bus driver at the end of the week:

Pilgrimages are always full of unexpected graces. The sacrifices made release some graces and power.

As evidence of their power, on the last night of the tour a remarkable conversation took place. Our tour guide, Susan, was a delightful Englishwoman with no religion. The bus driver – an easygoing and pleasant professional – was equally ignorant. After dinner one of our enthusiastic pilgrims asked the driver: “Eric, when are you going to become a Catholic?”

To everyone’s surprise he answered: “I’ve lived in England all my life. Me and Susan said we never knew places like Walsingham existed. I’ve never encountered religion like this. When we were there she picked up a booklet on how to pray the rosary and I got a book that tells how to become a Catholic.”

Read the whole article here.