The Pilgrim Log

Weekly Inspiration to Live Your Daily Pilgrimage

God’s Powerful Gift for Us

Image from Russian Icon of Pentecost, 18th century

In the Upper Room, at the Last Supper before Jesus was to begin his Passion, he said to his disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

At the Last Supper, Jesus prepares his disciples for the mission of the Church. Up until this time, everything depended upon the teaching and miracles of Jesus as he fulfilled the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. And now Jesus is telling them that the work of salvation will continue through them and the Church, when they receive the promise of the Father; the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus also said, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

It is at this same time that Jesus institutes the priesthood and the Eucharist, which are essential for the mission of the Church to bring the true presence of Christ to the whole world until the end of time. At each Mass, the Holy Spirit makes present to those in attendance the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is present in the person of the priest, in the proclamation of the Word of God, in those who are assembled to worship God, and par excellence in the Holy Eucharist. Out of love for those who believe in him, bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ so that we may be one with him.

Power Within Us!

Ever since the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost, the Church has had a powerful influence on the world. It survived persecution that tried to destroy it. The Church became a major factor in the development of education, medicine, science, social justice, the sacredness of family, and care for the poor. Of course, the Holy Spirit is not only about the institutional presence of God; it is primarily about the powerful witness of presence of the Holy Spirit in the saints through the ages and in each of us who believe.

At baptism, we became children of God and received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This reality has made it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with God that will enable us to discover the plan he has for each of us, that will fulfill our purpose for being on this earth.

How do we make the Holy Spirit active within us? We must have a humble, contrite heart.

Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous. – St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Come Holy Spirit, enkindle within me the fire of your love.


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Sacrifices for Dignity & Freedom

Servant of God Emil Kapaun celebrates Mass on the battlefield (Original photo in the Public Domain)

When I attend events where the National Anthem is sung and eyes are focused on the American Flag, tears well up in my eyes because I think of all who made this Nation as it is -“a land of the free”. When I hear Taps played at military funerals, I feel honored to be a part of that recognition of those who have served our country. The sacrifices, duty and dedication of many men and women come to mind. And yes, I do pause and thank God for their lives and their service which helped build the foundation of freedom. So many have become role models for young Americans to join the military.

A person to learn about and remember is a Catholic chaplain, Father Emil Kapaun, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II & the Korean War. He was born in Pilsen, Kansas on April 20, 1916, and died as a prisoner of war on Mary 23, 1951 at the age of 35. The Catholic Church has begun the cause for his canonization. Servant of God Emil Kapaun was a faithful priest, parish pastor, and military chaplain with a zealous and fervent desire to help others encounter Christ and His peace.

During the Korean war, he would offer Mass from the top of his jeep, travel miles to have Mass for troops in the field, would carry wounded men to safety, and brought hope to his fellow prisoners. He was called the Shepherd In Combat Boots.

He and other American soldiers were captured and forced to march a 60 to 100 mile walk to a prison camp. He helped carry one soldier with a broken ankle, and would encourage others to help those in need of support. Otherwise, they would be left to die or be shot. In prison, he would turn the mud huts they were forced to live in into a cathedral. He underwent torture for visiting prisoners to pray with them. He died of starvation and pneumonia after seven months in prison.

As the enemy took him to an area to die; the men cried out and begged that their priest not be taken away. As he was led away, Father Emil was heard saying: I’m going where I always wanted to go, and when I get there, I’ll say a prayer for all of you. Don’t worry about me. He was last seen blessing his captors.

Father Kapaun was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. The President of the United States posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2013. This medal is the highest award given to a member of the military, and Kapaun is just one of five Chaplains to have received the award.

We have been given the gift of freedom as an American people.

The ultimate freedom we have is the freedom that Jesus has given us with the sacrifice of his life and through his promises as we discover them in the Scriptures. Jesus said: If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). Free to live a life with God, to walk with him daily and experience his peace, and to live in hope of eternal life.

Our sacrifice of putting another person first, in the virtue of charity, can lead us to realize our dignity as a child of God, as a person living in true freedom.


Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Recognizing the Miracles in Your Daily Life

Why do we often forget God’s closeness to us?  Why do we often forget that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose? (cf. Romans 8:28)

The Reason

As a student and then working in marketing and communications, I learned that the average American is exposed to hundreds (some researchers say thousands) of messages in a single day, but we hardly recognize—let alone remember—most of them. Amidst the multitude of messages, our brains’ method of processing and retaining the “loudest” or most extreme messages have an unfortunate result:  We hardly recognize—let alone remember—God’s quiet miracles in our lives.

Amidst the multitude of miracles, we tend to remember only the “most extreme miracles” of the Gospel, such as:

  • Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
  • He calms the raging storm
  • He heals the paralytic, lowered from the roof of an overcrowded house

—but most of Jesus’ actions in people’s lives were quiet and ordinary. Jesus’ first miracle was the unassuming transformation of water into wine. As he ministered to people, Jesus looked into their eyes. He smiled at them. He loved them. He spoke with them. Many times, he took them aside by themselves. These are the quiet, ordinary ways Jesus revealed himself to people’s hearts.

Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus continues to act in this way: “Let us remember what (Jesus) did at the wedding of Cana!  Yes, the Lord, if we place ourselves in his hands, will work miracles for us—but they are miracles of everyday life!”

What is a ‘miracle of everyday life’?

For each of us, they look different. As a wife, I truly believe that most of God’s miracles in my life come through my husband’s love: when he forgives me without hesitation, when he transforms my sadness into laughter, or when he puts aside his own self for my sake. Miracles in my everyday life take place in the kitchen, during a car ride, or on the couch. But how often do I stop and recognize them as miracles; God manifesting himself in my life?

How can we become better at recognizing everyday miracles?

The Answer

Jesus said, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike” (Matthew 11:25).

Becoming childlike (not to be confused with immaturity, or childishness) means answering Jesus’ simple invitation from Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me…”

  1. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Like a child, we must eagerly and often run into God’s arms, and he will love us.
  2. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart…”  As we begin to trust God, we open our hearts to be guided and transformed by his love.
  3. “..and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  When we are confident that God loves us, we delight in his signs of affection for us. Our eyes are opened, and we see the miracles all around us.

Each year, “Come to Me” serves as the theme for Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Catholic Women’s Conference.  Some people wonder why we’ve kept the same theme year after year.  The answer is simple: God never stops inviting us, and we never stop needing the reminder.

Let’s answer Jesus’ invitation. What miracles will you see today?


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.