Summer is underway, and many have planned getaways for sightseeing, adventure, personal reflection, quality time or much needed rest and relaxation. Seminarians Luke Powers and Michael Wanta are no exception. They have embarked on a nine-week pilgrimage through Europe – culminating in the World Youth Day events from July 25-31– and they've offered you the opportunity to "join" them through a blog they have kept to document their journey.
Luke and Michael are both undergraduate seminarians for the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, studying at St. Andrew's College Seminary where they've just wrapped up their junior year as Catholic Theology majors at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. "When we are not in the Seminary over these undergraduate summers, we are encouraged by our diocese to find a job," explains Luke. For the last two years, he and Michael worked at a Catholic summer camp in their diocese called Camp Gray. A fellow counselor at the camp had gone on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain last summer and highly recommended it. The two seminarians took his words to heart. "This year will be the last time that either one of us has a free summer, since summers during major seminary will be spent in parishes," Michael says. "We decided that we would use the opportunity to also go on a pilgrimage."
Their journey began May 30, when they left for Paris. They remained there for four days, visiting churches and museums, before boarding a train to Lourdes. Three days later, they headed to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the traditional starting point to the Camino de Santiago. They had planned to walk the entire 500 miles from France to Santiago, Spain, which they estimated would take about 36 days. After arriving in Santiago, they traveled to Fatima, Portugal, to rest for a week before flying from Lisbon to Poland - the site of this year's World Youth Day. There, they met up with a large group of fellow pilgrims from their diocese at World Youth Day and stayed with them for the two–week event. They will return home to the United States on August 3 after a pilgrimage of exactly 65 days.
Luke and Michael weren’t the only Seton Hall students participating in
World Youth Day. In collaboration with the Community of St. John, a
group of ten Seton Hall students embarked on a two–week study–abroad
course titled “Foundations of Christian Culture – Poland” from July
18-August 2. Offered through Catholic Studies, the course included
visits to Auschwitz and Wadowice, the birthplace of St. John Paul II, in
addition to Krakow for the World Youth Day festivities.