Pilgrim Friars Arrive in D.C.

Other Author Franciscan World

WASHINGTON — Six weeks and 300 miles after leaving Roanoke, Va., six friars from St. John the Baptist Province found themselves at the Monastery of the Holy Land here — and on the cover of The Washington Post.

The July 29 lead story, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” recounts the journey that four student friars from the Cincinnati-based province decided to make this summer with their mentors.

“They shot the breeze with a gang of drunk bikers, dispensed relationship advice to the brokenhearted commuters, and bore witness to one and all, yea, even to the Chik-fil-A employee dressed as a cow,” wrote William Wan, staff writer for The Post.

The article also includes the story of a 40-year-old mother and daughter that Br. Richard Goodin, OFM, met just outside of Harrisonburg, Va.

“She’d recently caught her husband cheating on her. … Now, like the friars, they were wandering through the wilderness, unsure of their next meal or their next move.

“As they talked, the woman’s daughter rummaged through the car and gave the friars a soda. Then she found a chocolate bar and offered that. … The woman reached for her purse and told Goodin, ‘I want to give you what we have left.’

“She pressed $3.52 into his hand, which he accepted reluctantly.”

FriarWalkBr. Richard told The Post that the woman wanted to trust in God the way she saw the friars trusting in God.

The final entry on Walking with Hope, the blog-style Web site of the pilgrim friars, said the six arrived at the Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., just before 8 p.m. on July 28. They were greeted by guardian Fr. Jeremy Harrington, OFM, and kissed the floor of the lobby in gratitude for a safe conclusion to their journey.

The following day, the friars reconnected the people they’d met along the way, as well as those following their trek.

The Aug. 7 isuse of the St. John the Baptist newsletter, SJB News Notes, includes many photos of the “walking friars” and describes how The Washington Post learned about the friars’ adventure.

Photos are courtesy of The Washington Post.

Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for the Province.