Southern Catholic Heritage Pilgrimage Series come to St. John the Evangelist in Waynesville, NC for High School Teen Parishioners!  The Four Summer Pilgrimage Series was founded by Fr. Charles Byrd at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church in Jasper, Georgia (  Fr. Richard Sutter (Parochial Administrator), Ms. Jessica Martin (Youth Evangelization Director), and Mr. Robert Riker (LIT High School Youth Ministry Leader) have tailor-made the high school teen pilgrimage series to meet the needs of teens at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

July 7 – 11, 2019 will serve as the Pilgrimage Series kick-off as we go on pilgrimage to New Orleans, Louisiana.  This summer approximately 30 teens, 8 adult chaperones, possibly 1 seminarian and Fr. Richard will ride a couch bus to New Orleans, LA.  On our journey back from Louisiana the teen pilgrimage group will attend the Summer 2019 Steubenville Atlanta Conference in Duluth, Georgia.

After this 2019 Summer kickoff pilgrimage, the four summer pilgrimage series will follow the schedule below – the first full week after July 4th each year:

St. Augustine, Florida

The first Southern Catholic Heritage Pilgrimage is to St. Augustine, Florida.  There we explore our 16th century Spanish roots, see where the first Mass was offered, and visit the oldest town in our nation’s history.  We visit the oldest shrine to Our Lady in the U.S. and learn about the Spanish missions to Florida (and Georgia).  We visit the old fort, have fun on the beach, and just take in the atmosphere of old St. Augustine.  This will serve as our summer (2020) teen pilgrimage.

Chesapeake Bay Area

The second Southern Catholic Heritage Pilgrimage is to the Chesapeake Bay area, where we explore our 17th century English roots, see where the Ark and the Dove landed, where the colonists of Maryland offered the first Mass, and visit old St. Mary’s City and see the first church built there.  We also visit Baltimore and see where Mother Seton lived, and pray in our nation’s first cathedral.  We visit D.C., the basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and see the sites of our nation’s capital. This will serve as our summer (2021) teen pilgrimage.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The third Southern Catholic Heritage Pilgrimage is to New Orleans, where we explore our 18th century French roots.  The oldest convent in our nation is in New Orleans, and one of the oldest cathedrals in our country.  We visit some of the beautiful churches of the city, and experience the culturally rich atmosphere of French Catholicism here in the American south.  We walk through downtown New Orleans, visit the WWII Museum, visit Café Du Monde Riverwalk for a Beignet and take a river cruise down the mighty Mississippi on the famous Riverboat Natchez.  This will serve as our summer (2022) teen pilgrimage.

Charleston, South Carolina & Savannah, Georgia

The fourth Southern Catholic Heritage Pilgrimage is to Charleston & Savannah, where we explore our 19th century Irish roots.  Our trip usually includes an overnight stop in Charleston to visit Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on Sullivan’s Island and the off to St. Joseph’s church in Macon, which is an architectural gem.  The trip includes beach time on Georgia’s beautiful coast, but we also enjoy touring and praying in one of the most beautiful cathedrals on the east coast.  We may take a horse and buggy guided tours to experience the ambiance and history of Savannah and Charleston, with their colonial and Revolutionary War past.  We can take a stroll through the shops on Market Street in Charleston and River Street in Savannah, plus enjoy a picnic in Savannah’s Madison Square Park.  This trip focuses upon the rich Irish heritage that also flavors our Southern Catholic experience.  This will serve as our summer (2023) teen pilgrimage.