An invitation to the desert

« I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her” Hosea 2:14

Are you already making plans for the summer? Do you lean towards some crowded beach resort, or a simple, remote cabin with a spectacular mountain view? No personal preferences implied here… Or maybe a trip overseas? Anything but staying home, right? We all need to take a break from our daily environments for a while. Changing locations helps us recharge our batteries. We all need that to start afresh after the summer holiday.

Before you finalize your plans, I want to invite you to try something completely out of the ordinary. A Goum trek is something very few people in America have experienced to date. But over 15,000 young people have experienced it in Europe in the last 50 years.

What is Goum? Simply put, a group of young adults who walk together for a full week in the desert. They are looking for a slower, more frugal and natural rhythm, a chance to rediscover and enjoy the silence, to build truly authentic relationships. They are temporarily disconnecting from the virtual world in order to reconnect with what is essential, i.e. themselves and God. A Catholic priest walks with them, so this is also a spiritual retreat of sort.

Here’s the daily program in a nutshell: one hour of scripture meditation followed by Mass in the morning, walking 12-15 miles each day across beautiful places, a bowl of rice twice a day, sleeping under the stars. We walk in full freedom: in our treks, nobody will tell you what do to or what to think. But you will be expected to commit to the simplicity of the experience, leaving behind your confort and any addictions.

At the end of the week, you will have a new found health and spiritual upflift, which should carry you all year along. You will have made new friends for life, even if you knew no one at the beginning of the week. You will enjoy a great serenity, you will receive tons of graces to pursue in daily life your truth-thirsty pilgrimage, or to become such a pilgrim!

If you feel a little cramped in your daily routine, if you are tired, weary of living in the fast lane, if you sometimes wonder where all this leads you, come and breathe fresh air in the Wyoming desert. Come and fill your lungs with the wind of freedom. If you want your vacation to be truly a holiday, the opportunity to find yourself, to rediscover the concrete meaning of being alive, body, spirit and soul, come and join us. If you are ready to change the way you look at others, if you seek to live simply with other young people a true fraternity, if you long to reconnect with your God, this week of walking in the desert will not disappoint you!

From the afternoon of July 19 until the morning of July 27, we will be between 15 and 20 American and French trekkers. If you are ready to join us, please let me or Fr Bill Hill know, we will send you the logistical details and registration form.

Pass the word along, don’t hesitate to invite your friends!

Hoping to walk together soon.

Stéphane