Optional Member Code

El Camino Run: A People's Pilgrimage for Climate Action

Fiscal Year-End Appeal

$1,129 Dollars Raised
0.0 Miles Run

Main Content

Why I Run: Jeff’s

Conversion Story

I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but three events in the Spring of 2017 changed the course of my Catholic faith, my career and my entire life. God, ever patient but ever persistent, first whispered and then shouted. Finally, I listened.  Now, a year later, I am about to embark on an audacious journey of faith and am inviting you to accompany me.  

My spring of 2017 journey began simply enough with a trip to Rome with family.  As a Catholic, my eyes and heart have always seen Rome as a holy place and a center of my faith, not just another tourist destination.  This trip, however, I was given a rare opportunity to have an audience with Pope Francis.  I’ll admit to being a bit apprehensive just to stand in his presence, never mind to shake his hand. But I left with a tremendous sense of peacefulness and presence. I was also able to spend some time with my old friend, St. John Paul II, who I first met in 1993 at the World Youth Day in Denver and have always felt a special connection to him. My Rome trip continued including touring the grounds and buildings of the Vatican, celebrating mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, talking all day with other Catholics passionate about their faith and our Church. I left Rome filled with the sense that this once-in-a-lifetime trip was actually my first real pilgrimage.  

During an ordinary Sunday back at home, I was sitting after Holy Communion and all of the sudden I was overcome with emotion, almost to tears. What was going on?  I didn't understand so I ignored it. The next Sunday, the same emotion swept over me again and during the Our Father.  It was like I was hearing the actual words for the first time and they were so powerful.  I was confused.  Why was I experiencing mass in this new, raw, emotional way?  Why did my heart feel different?  After several weeks, I finally connected the dots and realized that I was having what most people call a conversion experience.  I thought conversions where like getting struck by lightning. Mine was more like a slow drive up an on ramp trying to merge onto a highway.  

Then, just as suddenly, I get connected with this nonprofit I've never heard of: Catholic Climate Covenant.  Wait, what? There are Catholics advocating for action on climate change? They want to start doing energy efficiency projects for Catholic facilities? This is amazing!  I've spent the last 10 years working in the for-profit energy efficiency space helping customers reduce their energy usage while helping the planet.  Could I use my skills to help make the Catholic Church become the most energy efficient religious organization in the U.S.? Yes!  I can combine my professional and personal passions.  But—you know the pattern—it took a couple months to realize that this was my calling.  

Finally, it was during that same spring last year that I was planning a big adventure in 2018.  Run around Lake Tahoe? Hike some of the Pacific Crest Trail? A friend mentioned the Camino de Santiago. A pilgrimage! Wow, that would be perfect.  I've run 50 miles; could I run the 500 mile Camino from the France/Spain boarder to Santiago de Compostela? Thirty miles a day for 17 days? That’s ridiculous. Well, maybe. Okay, yes! What if my suffering could help inspire other people to take a step forward to help the Catholic Church become more energy efficient?  What if my big adventure could help raise awareness and money for Catholic Energies, Catholic Climate Covenant’s initiative to implement efficiency, and renewable energy projects in Catholic buildings?  

So here I am.  I've left my job of 10 years, started a consulting business where I spend half my time doing corporate energy efficiency work and the other half helping the Catholic Church become more energy efficient. And I am about to head to Europe for the big adventure.

Will you join me on the Camino? Will you visit this page frequently to watch my progress, read my reflections, and, most importantly, give a donation to Catholic Climate Covenant for its Catholic Energies program.

Can you support Catholic Energies by pledging $0.10/mile of my pilgrimage?  $1/mile?  Will you encourage your parish, school, or university for an energy audit? Will you tell a friend about my pilgrimage by sharing on social media?

Thank you for joining me in the month of June on this, our pilgrimage together to care for our common home.

Click Here to Read More Stories