I remembered where I discovered the concept… from Father Hector. He spoke about the “Run of St. John” recalling the moment when the beloved disciple and Simon Peter ran to the empty tomb after Mary Magdalene ran back to tell them it was empty. I asked the congregation on Easter Sunday if they had ever participated in the run of John and Peter, and no one could ever recall the tradition.
On Easter Sunday, however, we may have just begun a new tradition. Rising early that morning, several young adults gathered and we drove down to the lake shore to run with the spirit of the beloved disciple, John. The four who joined me were Hugo and Edy Dominguez, Jose Alonso and David Panfilo, Jr. All of them were great runners. We ran along the lake shore, passing a group of people who had just celebrated a sunrise mass service. After running close to 5 miles we finished the run. I came in last, but I explained to them that Simon Peter arrived last at the tomb, so maybe I was more in the spirit of Peter.
During the run, I noticed Edy recording a film, and later he asked me questions about why it is important for our youth to dream of an education even when they are not documented. I told him that the “hope” of our youth is critical to the ability of our society to serve others effectively and creatively. Their education, after everything they have been through in our neighborhood, will help us reflect and provide for a better future, one that is just and keeps us unified as a family.
I also discovered that Hugo and Jose are going to run the Chicago October Marathon. They are calling it “Running for a dream” – in other words, they are supporting all undocumented students, the “Dreamers”, pursuing a dream of higher education. They plan to raise money for scholarships with their marathon run.
Given the spirit of these young people, I think the “Run of St. John” definitely should be part of the parish experience from now on. Just the idea of running, first in fear, that life, (or death), is not what we think it should be, and then proclaiming with joy that our run showed us a better way, that Christ, our hope, is not buried, but alive and well.
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF