How Ryan turns his business trips into pilgrimages

Emily Lenhard

Ryan Schweitzer, a recent convert and parishioner of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Flushing, walked through a Holy Door in Switzerland last spring on a pilgrimage with Father Gordon Reigle, pastor of St. Robert and Good Shepherd Parish in Montrose. That gave him an idea.

Ryan travels often for his job as a quality analyst for General Motors. He decided this presented an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. He set a goal of visiting 79 Holy Doors, equal to the age of Pope Francis, before the Year of Mercy comes to a close on Nov. 20. As of print time, Ryan had visited 56 Holy Doors, and is still on schedule to be able to visit at least 79 by Nov. 20.

Ryan has kept a journal of his travels and shared his experiences on social media. He shared some of his photos of the Holy Doors he has visited with FAITH.

What are Holy Doors?

Holy Doors throughout the world were opened during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. When they opened at the beginning of the year, "The Holy Door (became) a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instills hope.” Since each diocese opened a Door of Mercy, all members of the faithful have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to their local Holy Door during the Jubilee. This pilgrimage is to be a journey of walking closer with God and discovering "moment[s] of grace and spiritual renewal." These doors are symbols of God's mercy, open to welcome everyone into the compassion of God's love that Christ proclaimed. (USCCB)