Yesterday, March 1, 2009, two young men set out on a difficult journey across the U.S. For seven months, beginning in Ocean Park, CA, they will walk twenty miles a day to Ocean City, NJ. What would possess anyone to do this? Are they raising money for a worthy project or protesting something? No. Inspired by St. Paul, they are going to walk, preach, and witness to the love of Jesus Christ. One of these young men, Jon Leonetti, is the host of a Catholic radio show on KWKY in Des Moines, IA. Jon interviewed me a month or so ago for his weekly youth-oriented show “Martyrs of the Third Millennium.” The title comes from a quote of Pope John Paul II. It’s what the late Holy Father called young people—those who would witness to the Gospel (the meaning of the world “martyr”) and be willing to lay down their lives for Christ. A “Martyr of the Third Millennium” is someone who continually dies to self in order to live for Jesus Christ, just the way St. Paul did. Jon and I had a great half hour conversation on the radio. I, with my desire to help people make an offering of their lives one day at a time through the Eucharistic spirituality of the Apostleship, and Jon, with his desire to help young people develop deep prayer lives which help them live not for themselves but for Christ—we were very much “on the same page.”
Jon and his fellow walking witness, Jesse Weiler, will be blogging, posting photos and videos, and creating a documentary of their journey. You can find out more about all this and see if they’re coming anywhere near your hometown on their web site: www.soulywalking.com . Please join me in praying for them—their safety and well-being, and that they may touch the hearts of many people, young and old, through this amazing journey of over 3,500 miles on foot.