Sharing the journey


By Barb Arland-Fye

Bundled up inside diocesan headquarters, 14 of us said a prayer before starting a one-mile walk outdoors Nov. 7 to “Share the Journey” with immigrants and refugees worldwide. Among us were diocesan staffers and volunteers, Sisters of Humility and Catholic Messenger staffers. Another five or six walkers chose to stay indoors and walk around the gym for a half-mile.


The crisp autumn weather bit our toes and finger tips but we enjoyed each other’s company, chatting in pairs on a sidewalk leading to Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport. Amy Kersten, a volunteer in the diocesan Social Action Office, led our walk, deftly moving aside trash and recycle bins to keep us on track. We arrived at the turn-around point in no time. Some of us said, “Is that it?” We were just warming up in our bonding experience!

Amy invited anyone who wanted to head back to do so, but all 14 of us opted to continue our walk around the scenic park that features a water fountain, pond, trees and gardens. Our distance totaled 1-3/4 of a mile, which would boost our overall contribution to the tally for this global solidarity walk.


We joked about our cold hands and feet, knowing that our small “sufferings” paled in comparison to the sufferings of the immigrants and refugees trudging miles in adverse weather conditions with limited food, shelter and water. Social Action Office volunteer Glenn Leach suggested we could have walked barefoot and carried heavy back packs for better comparison!

Our brief, enjoyable walk inspired me to think about the many companions with whom I share this pilgrim journey on earth. God intended each of us to have companions on the journey; sometimes these companions support us on the journey and at other times we support them. The companions we travel with may change, depending on the particular leg of our unique journey in life.

My primary companions on the journey are family members:husband, sons, parents, siblings, sisters-in-law, my friend Marcia, and aunts and uncles. They have walked with me even when I’m not such a great traveling companion. My husband Steve said to me Sunday, “Did you notice your car?” He had changed the oil, filled the car with gas, and polished the front end. But the first thing I said to him when he returned from performing this good deed was, “You didn’t wash the Foreman Grill last night like you said you would!” I neglected to clean the grill while doing the dishes the previous night and asked him to do it for me. He forgot. Steve, my closest companion on the journey, let my unfair criticism go. I apologized later.

That same day, I participated in choir practice with my singing companions on the journey. Self-inflicted stress had worn me down. Singing in harmony lifted me up, verse by verse and refrain by refrain. Our choir and choir director, Ladonna, have raised me up in sickness and now in health. Singing with the choir brings me closer to them and to God.

Pope Francis asks us to share the journey with immigrants and refugees in whatever way we can, to demonstrate solidarity with people like ourselves, made in the image of God. Sharing the journey begins in our own little corner of the world, in the way in which we encounter family, friends, colleagues and strangers. Next time, I’ll clean the Foreman Grill!

(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on