Journey through Italy "Virtually" Impossible

Sometimes the best plans are thwarted by things out of our control. And if you know me, you know I hate being bested by technology! I will exhaust myself, exploring every work-around solution and praying to every patron saint of any category remotely close to my dilemma— technology, communication, impossible causes, computers, phones, electricity, lost passwords, WiFi problems. (Now, that's a saint I need... the patron saint of problems connecting to WiFi!)

Perhaps God is teaching me a little lesson in connectivity. By making it seemingly impossible to connect to the Internet to share our WINE & Shrine travels, He just might be bringing me back to the roots of WINE, reminding me of some key aspects that blend together to make WINE... well, WINE: Women In the New Evangelization.

WINE is about building relationships with women with the ultimate goal of growing deeper in relationship with the Lord. WINE is about supporting, nurturing and encouraging women on their journey. WINE is about elevating women in their gifts to build up the body of Christ... and WINE is about not reinventing the wheel!

Thus, I believe the lesson in this virtual aspect of our journey is three-fold. First, beautiful relationships have sprung forth from this journey—relationships I truly believe will continue to grow long after our plane lands back in the states. Second, the nurturing, encouraging and supporting of one another is, to use a biblical wine term, over flowing! And third, and most important for this night as I struggle not to scream each time the WiFi bumps me off the network, I can build up the beautiful giftedness of my sisters in Christ and at the same time pat myself on the back for not re-inventing the wheel! 

Therefore, if you've missed journeying with us these past few days, I want to encourage you to read the following blogs by my very gifted and extremely awesome co-hosts, Teresa Tomeo and Joan Lewis. These women truly capture the spirit of the pilgrimage we have been on, and Praise God, they have been able to use the WiFi in their Vatican office to do so! 

(I'd love to post more pictures with this blog, but I've been bumped off the WiFi so many times trying to post this blog, that I fear one more time and I may have to go to confession.)

June 22: by Teresa Tomeo Tuscany: God's Country




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Pope Francis Must Know We're Heading to Italy!

Pope Francis laughing outside of St. Peter's Basilica during the general audience the moment he heard about WINE & Shrine. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA

Pope Francis laughing outside of St. Peter's Basilica during the general audience the moment he heard about WINE & Shrine. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA

The Holy Father affirms WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, BIG TIME! 

I think the article POPE FRANCIS: WANT TO CELEBRATE WELL? DRINK WINE, by Catholic News Agency, shows that Pope Francis knows a WINE pilgrimage is heading his way!

The Holy Father's words this week echo that which runs through everything WINE: Invitation, God-given Gifts of Women, JOY, Relationship with Others, Deeper Relationship with Jesus, Taking Mary's final words to heart and doing the will of God! All of these are the essence of WINE and all of these are going to be at the heart of our WINE & Shrine Pilgrimage—all of them!

Invitation: The focus is "the wedding feast in Cana"... someone invited Mary to a wedding. Scripture tells us that and it tells us that "Jesus was also invited "(John 2:1-3). A miracle began with a simple invitation. WINE is all about inviting women into relationship with other women, such that they can be supported and nurtured as they grow in relationship with Jesus.

God-given Gifts of Women: One of these key moments, Francis said, comes with Mary’s observation that newlywed couple’s resources have depleted, and that at a certain point “they have no wine.” WINE teaches women to embrace the gifts of womanhood, the gifts Pope John Paul the Great illuminated for us, the gifts of receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and our maternal gifts.

Joy: While water is necessary to live, “wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the feast,” Francis said. WINE is infused with JOY—always! (John 16:22)

Relationship with Others: In the expression that Jesus was “with his disciples,” it’s made clear that the ones Jesus has called to follow him are now bound together as a community and as a family, he said. WINE is all about relationships, because women are all about relationships. In fact, we are radically relational!

Deeper Relationship with Jesus: Francis said that the foundation of our faith is “an act of mercy with which Jesus has bound us to himself.” The Christian life, then, “is a response to this love, it’s the story of two lovers.” WINE & Shrine is a journey to bring us closer to the heart of our Beloved bridegroom during an extraordinary year of mercy.

Following Our Blessed Mother's Words: This mission, following Mary’s directive to “Do whatever he tells you,” means serving the Lord by listening to his Word and putting it into practice, Francis continued, adding that “it’s the simple but essential recommendation of the Mother of Jesus and it’s the program of the Christian life.” Not to sound like my earthly mother, but if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, WINE is about following our Heavenly Mother's final words to us in Sacred Scripture and doing the will of God... It's just a bit easier to do that when you have your sisters in Christ supporting you!

Bottom line: Pope Francis and WINE are a very good pairing!

I want to encourage you, as we pack our bags and prepare our hearts in this final week before flying to the Eternal City, to read John 2: 1-12 each day and to meditate on that Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart so that on this journey you can see anew the invitation into relationships that God has for you.

Looking forward to journeying with you!

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