Reflections from the road: Feet for Francis Day 5

How good a host was St. Cornelius Parish in Chadds Ford, Pa.? Monsignor Greg Parlante’s staff rigged a shower in a room off the chapel in its parish center, so we were able to awake without any road dust on us the morning of Thursday, Sept. 25.

Patricia Guerra, a researcher for the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, interviewed and gathered video of pilgrims throughout the morning of Sept. 24. (CR Staff/Paul McMullen)

We had a 25-mile drive by van and car back to Oxford, with Karen Fiallos, Liliana Abril and myself making the jaunt with Patricia Guerra of the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, a Tower of Babel ride recounted here.

Paul Tiller, Tim Rubeling and Madelyn Milstead enjoy lunch subs near the junction in Jennersville, courtesy Season’s Pizza in Aston. (CR Staff/Paul McMullen)

Walking on secondary roads, the scenery took a blessed turn for the better, through farmland and fields of fallen corn, past Lincoln University, an opportunity to talk about the origin of historically black colleges. A more serene rhythm was established, as the Link and Milstead girls sang a cappella, Tim Rubeling pulled out his guitar when he could, and there was less traffic to mind. Religious freedom, one of the reasons Father Jack Lombardi walks, resurfaced as a theme. During a rest stop, he went over to say hello to a young Amish man pulling a horse-drawn wagon, who requested no pictures. I deleted the ones I had taken. Later that day, the pilgrimage stopped to pray and sing outside Planned Parenthood of Chester County.

Pilgrims stop to pray and sing hymns along Baltimore Pike. (Paul McMullen)

A Spanish twist has been added to the cheer that got us started.
“Hey, Hey!”
“Ho, Ho!”
“Pope Francis!”
“Vamanos!” – as in “Let’s Go!”

Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment was among the inspirations for recycling plastic during a pit stop at a Wawa, a chore handled by Bob Williams and Mary Bergin. (CR Staff/Paul McMullen)

The Holy Father is never far from our thoughts, and his encyclical on the environment had us stop at the Wawa before Avondale to recycle plastic water bottles, trays from lunch, etc. In Avondale, most of us piled into vans for the drive to the very green campus of Neumann University, an exhaling ride that led to a hilarious comeuppance from young Joe Landry.
Dinner was paid for by Loyola University Maryland in the Neumann student dining hall, where there were other reminders of home. Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia Patricia Hutchison, the director of the university’s Institute of Franciscan Studies, was a teacher and administrator in the 1970s, first at St. Joseph School in Fullerton, then at St. Anthony of Padua, when Gardenville had a thriving parish school and an assistant pastor who would go on to become Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly.

Father Jack Lombardi and pilgrims take in a volleyball match against Cabrini College at Neumann University’s Mirenda Center. (CR Staff/Maureen Cromer)

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