The Very Reverend Todd Donatelli

Pilgrimage to Cuba

Posted By Todd Donatelli on June 29, 2017

“The object of pilgrimage is not rest and recreation. To set out on a pilgrimage is to throw down a challenge to everyday life.” - Huston Smith

“Pilgrimage is a way of travel that orients lives of faith.” - Deborah Smith-Douglas

“If you aren’t trembling as you approach the sacred, it isn’t the real thing.” - Phil Cousineau

This Saturday at 4:30 a.m., thirteen All Souls pilgrims (nine senior high youth and four adults) will “throw down a challenge to everyday life.” We will step out of our regular physical and emotional rhythms to allow a people and place to speak to us on their terms. We are not going to do something for folks; instead we will simply be with them: participating in their daily rhythms, stepping into their physical and emotional space.

Being present in this way protects us from the inherent safety of being the givers in a relationship which inherently places one in the power position of the relationship. Allowing this time and these people to speak on their terms puts us in a place of vulnerability, as we don’t get to dictate the terms of our time.

“Unless you lose your life you will not find your life. Those who lose their life find it.”

I am hearing Jesus’ words in this pilgrimage. Losing our control, losing our position, allows us to see, hear, and experience in a manner being in control does not allow. Broken bread gives life.

I have no idea what these ten days will bring and that is the point of pilgrimage: opening ourselves to a new experience so that it will change and transform us. One thing I do know is we will have no cell or internet service for these ten days. Even emails sent by our hosts can take 3-4 days to make their arrival. Thus, there will be no blog posts, no Facebook posts, no seeking to reflect immediately via media; simply ten days of intentional presence free from the interference of outside noise. Your and our connection during this time will be via our prayers for each other.

One thing I do know is all of us will be different for having pushed ourselves outside our understood space into a realm of revelation. One thing I do know is we will bring back gifts beyond the tangible trinkets in our packs. One thing I do know is Jesus/the Spirit awaits there incarnate in the people and land. One thing I do know is those who lose their lives find it.

The Very Reverend Todd M. Donatelli, Dean of the Cathedral