Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Billion Catholic Stories

Some days it seems very difficult being a Catholic and that is a good day to pray the rosary, and it is also a good day to remember why you are a Catholic.

Here is a wonderful story, from Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly, of a young man--as his magnificent apostolate reveals--who certainly knows why he is.

An excerpt.

“For Seth DeMoor, it was all about the stories.

“As an undergraduate at the University of Colorado, hearing people’s stories of conversion, reversion and grace helped the 24-year-old Colorado native discover the beauty of his Catholic faith for the first time.

“And when graduation loomed, it was those stories DeMoor felt called to share.

“They were too good for just me to hear,’” he said. “I knew I needed to somehow capture them and put them where others could hear them, too.”

“He also knew there were more stories out there — that there was, in fact, a story for each of the 1 billion Catholics currently living on Planet Earth. Capturing all 1 billion was impossible, but capturing a couple hundred seemed doable.

“So, in November 2009, one month before graduation, DeMoor told friends and family about his plan. Beginning in January, he would bike from Florida to Colorado. Along the way he would collect as many stories as he could about people’s journeys with and to the Church, filming those stories and posting them on a website, OneBillionStories.com.

“It was, in many ways, a crazy idea. DeMoor’s mother worried about his safety. His friends pointed out that he would be biking in the dead of winter. But DeMoor was determined to go through with it, and eventually both his family and friends gave him their support.

“Chilly ride

“In late December, DeMoor flew to Florida. With money he saved up in college he purchased all the necessary video, biking and camping equipment. Then, at 10 a.m. on Jan. 3, DeMoor set off from Orlando.

“For the next three months, he biked along the United States’ southern border, traveling across Florida’s panhandle, into Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and, finally, up to Colorado. Although he “clung to the coast” for most of his journey, the weather was still bitterly cold.

“It was the coldest winter in the South in more than 50 years,” DeMoor said. “In Florida, the temperatures didn’t go above 32 degrees for 10 days straight, and it snowed on me in southern Mississippi and Texas.”

“Southern hospitality

“If not for Southern hospitality, the weather could have proved DeMoor’s biggest obstacle. That’s because DeMoor had lined up housing for only seven nights of his journey: He planned on camping out the remainder of the time.

“Fortunately for him, however, the people he met along the way wouldn’t hear of such a thing. In the end, DeMoor pulled out his camping gear on only seven of the 94 nights he spent on the road. In nearly every city he stopped, he found someone who invited him to stay the night in their home. He also found hundreds of people willing to share their stories about conversion, discernment, vocation and apostolate work.”