by Maria Ruiz Scarperlanda and Michael Scarperlanda
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.
The authors are a married couple who from the beginning of their relationship they continued to base their desire to live out their Catholic faith. But it is that desire that continues to fuel their marriage and their individual professional lives. Michael is a law professor at the University of Oklahoma and Maria is a writer. When Pope John Paul II issued an invitation to Catholics throughout the world to go to Rome to celebrate the Jubilee Year 2000, Michael and Maria took the invitation seriously. Ever since their children were small they had dreamed of being able to share such a trip as a family at least once. Clearly their understanding of what this meant for them has changed tremendously over the past two decades. Making a pilgrimage during the Jubilee Year seemed like the perfect opportunity. And so they began plotting, planning, and dissecting the possibility. By Christmas 1999, they were committed. Their primary Santa gifts that year were a backpack for each of the children and an airline ticket for each person in the family.
Throughout this book, they returned time and again to that Jubilee Year pilgrimage, sharing with you stories of the road. It was the trip of a lifetime. No mishaps or misfortunes took place that they could ever compare to the blessings they received as a family and as individuals. All experiences in life are metaphors for their spiritual pilgrimage. They offer this book as a reflection of the pilgrim life. They hope that the specific stories of their pilgrimage experiences, including the Jubilee Year 2000 summer. They lead you beyond the trips themselves and into the heart of the pilgrimage that is life. If they walk away with one thing they hope that it centers on the reality that pilgrimage is a spiritual journey, an inner process of the heart and spirit. Prayer for the reader is one that as you walk this journey with the authors, you will join us in the ongoing discovery of what it means to be a pilgrim journeying toward God, our true home and final destination.
This book itself has been a pilgrimage for Michael and Maria. It was their first official decades living as a couple, they discovered in other’s insights into what it means to live a pilgrim life. At the beginning of each chapter the reader will see Michael or Maria designating which one of them is speaking. The book has topics for journaling and tips for traveling. Their depth of understanding enables readers to connect the inner and outer journeys –whether on trails halfway around the world or on the well-worn paths of home.