To say that this post is overdue is quite an understatement. So many times I meant to sit down and type out an update on my 2021 reading goals and progress, to mention new books I’d read, to share my spiritual journey. But life got busy and I began opting for self-care like naps, workouts, and attending daily Mass instead of blogging. I did share many of my adventures from 2021 on my social media pages, so if we’re connected there you’re in the loop on what I’ve been up to. My biggest accomplishments of 2021 were meeting my goals of reading the entire Bible and still accomplishing my Goodreads goal for the year! That’s a whole lotta reading, and I’m so thankful I was able to complete both goals.
Since I was reading the Bible last year, I had set my Goodreads goal of reading 15 books and was just hopeful I’d be able to find the time to complete both. Well, I not only read the Bible, but read 29 additional books! It wouldn’t have been possible without Ascension Press and Father Mike Schmitz offering the free Bible in a Year podcast. Each episode is about 20 minutes a day. Fr. Mike reads Scripture then gives commentary to provide context and insight. Without this context, background, insight into the culture of the times, and historical information, I would have gotten lost pretty early on. If you’re interested in reading or listening to the Bible and learning what it’s all about, I cannot recommend this podcast enough!
In addition to all of my reading, I did a Catholic Church pilgrimage. If you’re unfamiliar with my spiritual history, I converted to Catholicism in 2020. One of my favorite things about the Catholic faith is the universality. I can go into a Roman Catholic Church anywhere in the world, and I’m before the Eucharist. The Eucharist, Christ really present with us, is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. So I thought it would be beautiful to visit several different churches, learn about their histories, and then pray the Mass there and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. We have many remarkably beautiful and historic churches in the Western New York area, several of which I had driven past but never stopped as I wasn’t Catholic. But now I had a spiritual connection to those sacred spaces and was excited to visit them. I chronicled my 2021 journeys on my social media pages and created a little video recap which I’ll share here. I strongly encourage you to visit churches, shrines, and other sacred sites in your area. Time spent with the Lord is never time wasted.
For 2022, I have set my Goodreads challenge at 25 books. This is once again much less than previous years’ goals. But I also have another pilgrimage planned for 2022, I’m active in a lot of ministry work, and I recently started working full time for a church. So my read for fun time is less than it has been in past years. But I wouldn’t have it any other way! I absolutely love living my faith.
In 2021, I visited a new church each month. In 2022, I will be visiting a new church each month again but with a new goal. Each month, I will visit a church dedicated to the Blessed Mother under a different title. It is a common misconception that Catholics worship Mary. We do not. We offer her honor, love, and great affection. Curious about why? Well, subscribe to the blog because each month I’m going to share a new title of the Blessed Mother and explain how that title came to be – was it from an apparition, a miracle, her immaculate conception? I can’t wait to help you get to know her better.
In 2022, I also plan to meet a new Saint each month. Another beautiful part of the Catholic faith is looking to the Saints for support and encouragement. They walked before us. They were human just like us. They found ways to stay faithful in this world. I can’t wait to learn about them and share them with you.
Of course there are several spiritual books lined up on my to-be-read list this year: books about Saints, books about the Eucharist, books about the Blessed Mother. I also have a stack of mysteries from the library that’s calling my name, and I’m excited for some new thrillers to release.
How did your 2021 reading challenge go? What are your goals for the New Year – reading, spiritual, or other? I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m excited to share my journeys with you.
Here’s my 2021 Catholic Church Pilgrimage Video. What a beautiful journey it was!