There is a series of highways from St. Louis to St. Paul, Minnesota, that is known as the “Avenue of the Saints.” It starts near Wentzville and heads north on Highway 61 all the way to St. Paul. I have driven along it a couple of times, most recently on a trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Along the highway, all the way up and back, you see the special Avenue of the Saints signs. I really like the thought of an actual Avenue of the Saints so much that I bought one of the highway signs from a local antique store, and it hangs in our garage.
When I think about the Avenue of the Saints, it makes me think of my own path to holiness and how I use my time. Working in the stewardship ministry gives me a lot of car time, going back and forth every day to the Cardinal Rigali Center but also on the trips that I make to parishes in and around St. Louis and beyond. Over the past eight years, my red 2010 Toyota Highlander has become my office and chapel.
But, I don’t dread car time. In fact, I actually enjoy it. While driving, I’ve had many wonderful conversations with family and friends about God. On our way to church and parish events my wife, Sharon, and I have had many great talks about Mass, homilies and sacraments. Sharon has attended many of the stewardship workshops that I have given in other cities, and she provides me wonderful insights and critiques while on the road. I’ve also had many good God conversations with friends on the way to dinner and with golfing buddies on the way to the course.
On my drive back and forth to work, I also enjoy listening to Covenant Network Radio. Asthe editor of this paper reminds us, “A well-formed Catholic is a well-informed Catholic.” On the morning drive there are fantastic stories on the history of St. Louis parishes (thank you Msgr. Witt), beautiful stories of conversion, excellent homilies by local priests, evangelization advice by national experts, and news from a Catholic perspective. On the drive home there is great programming on Catholic topics of interest and world events.
Car time has also led me to more prayer time. Just driving in silence, no radio on, having a conversation with God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mary or other saints and angels. Car time has also led me to pray for other people, especially my family and friends. But, it also has led me to pray for people I don’t know, like the guy jogging in the morning or the mom with a carload of kids headed to school.
The Avenue of Saints isn’t just a highway from St. Louis to St. Paul, it’s the road that we all take every day of our lives. Enjoy the ride!
Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at Mary, Mother of the Church in south St. Louis County. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or [email protected]