Companions on the journey

Columnist Mark Nuehring says

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I recently watched a short news story about a group of eight explorers planning to climb Mount Everest. While one of the future explorers was interviewed, they were showing video of tents set up on snowy plateaus of the mountain where previous explorers slept. Can you even imagine the training and fortitude required to endure this challenge?

While I would never consider this trip in a million years, I can appreciate the training and the cohesiveness of the team required to accomplish this shared goal.

There are so many analogies of this story for life. Whether you want to think globally, i.e. our country or our state, or even our city. But, the most significant way we are connected is to our family. Our families are our foundation.

In spite of everything our families have endured the past two years with the pandemic, we have held together and survived under challenging circumstances.. We have celebrated birthdays, major holidays and have even held some family events over Zoom. We have even worshiped at our favorite church over the internet. Our families have survived.

Now, as the mask mandate is beginning to be lifted and Lent is underway, we all need to think about returning to our houses of worship. We also need our church family.


Our church family can be likened to the group of eight explorers… we all need each other to accomplish the goal. What is the goal you ask? Scripture answers that question for us in Matthew 22: “Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

This goal cannot be accomplished without support. Just like we need food to nourish us physically, we need our pastors, and other members of our congregation, to encourage us spiritually on our journey of faith. It is easy to get into a rut and think we don’t need church, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth because a church community holds us to some accountability.

Just like our families encourage us to become the best versions of ourselves, we need our faith communities to help us grow in our care and compassion for those who have less and to grow in our personal holiness. Just like climbing Mount Everest takes practice and dedication, it also takes practice and dedication to live out our faith in our daily lives, and both are best accomplished as part of a team.

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Mark Nuehring is director of faith formation at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rochester. "From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders.

From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.

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