Faith journey = walking 3,000 miles in 100 days

| Kristi Anderson for The Catholic Spirit | July 30, 2013 | 0 Comments
Daniel Reinke pauses to take in the scenery during his journey. He was inspired to begin this 3,000 mile faith journey after reading “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. Photo courtesy of Robert Reinke

Daniel Reinke pauses to take in the scenery during his journey. He was inspired to begin this 3,000 mile faith journey after reading “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. Photo courtesy of Robert Reinke

When Dick and Mary Beth Reinke watched their son, Daniel, take his first steps 20-some years ago, they never imagined he would be taking more than six million steps to walk across America on a personal pilgrimage of faith.

Daniel Reinke, 25, a member of St. Peter in Forest Lake, was inspired to begin this journey, which he calls Cross America, after reading Matthew Kelly’s book, “Rediscover Catholicism.”

He left Portland, Ore., May 5 and plans to end his 3,000-mile trip in Virginia Beach, Va., around his 100th day of walking.

Before Daniel left on his journey, he created a blog to track his progress and share photos, videos and reflections with family and friends. He added a link to a personal tracking device that shows his location and keeps a pedometer to record his steps. In a blog post dated March 30 — more than a month before his journey would begin — he shared his motivation for the pilgrimage.

“We should not read Scripture, a book like ‘Rediscover Catholicism,’ or any spiritual book for that matter, and not see our lives dramatically change,” the blog post read. “I have not always lived a good Catholic life, but God has been working on my heart and I felt called to make real changes in my life . . . and the change has been great!”



Daniel’s brother Robert, also of Forest Lake, describes his sibling as an adventurous spirit who was a bit of a “wild child” in his younger years but has recently begun taking his faith more seriously.

Daniel increased his reading of Scripture and was later encouraged by his pastor at the time, Father Donald DeGrood, to read Kelly’s book as part of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Rediscover: initiative.

“After reading Kelly’s book, something sparked inside Daniel,” Robert said. “He always wanted to do something adventurous and now he felt he had a motive, an intention.”

As Daniel enters new towns, he looks for parishes to visit as well as city parks and, of course, campgrounds, where he often pitches his tent. Occasionally, he finds respite in the kindness of strangers who offer him food and water and sometimes even a bed, hot meal and shower. Often, he stops at libraries to update his blog and challenge himself and readers to live out their faith daily.

“God is moving and at work in this world,” Daniel says in his blog post dated May 13, “The best way I can say it is that the only reason bad can seem so evident is when good people fail to act.

“If each of the faithful stood up when God prompts us to do so, the world would be shining with blinding goodness.”

“Without even knowing it, Daniel has shown all of us what it really means to live out our faith actively,” said Robert. “If he can do this, how can I just sit back and watch? Daniel is calling us all to this task that God has asked of us and that is to take our faith to the next level.”

Gift of each other

When The Catholic Spirit caught up with Daniel, he was near Greenfield, Ohio, just finishing day 80 and recently passing the 2,000-mile mark. With the sound of cars whizzing by in the background, he communicated via cell phone.

“I’m literally just going where the road takes me,” he said. “I don’t have a plan but I lean on God every step of the way.”

As Daniel approaches the last leg of his travels, he said he “has no complaints” but is ready to be home with family and friends.

Although he has had no major bumps in the road, he has had a few of what he terms “humility checks” with God — from minor flare ups and muscle soreness to heavy rain and scorching heat. But he said those are God’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m the reason you are doing this, remember?” Then he wakes up the next day, the aches and pains gone, and he gets back on the road again.

“In this Year of Faith, this is a trip of faith,” he said. “It’s a lesson in relying on God everyday and at every encounter. It will also be a way for me to look back on all the ways God has blessed me. I think that as Christians we have a gift of each other all around, in our towns, schools, places of work and in every corner of our lives.”

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