“Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. – Matthew 5:41”
I have run thousands of miles. some of the most significant this year. One of the first people I met at the beginning of my JV year was Brad Mills, SJ. He is an FJV who served in Bolivia and Peru from 200 until 2008. As a young Jesuit, Brad is preparing to enter theology studies at Javeriana University in Bogota, Columbia after spending the last three years in San Diego as a social worker for Catholic Charities, as well as part-time in young-adult ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe.
I started to get to know him through attending some of the young adult meetings last fall. We discovered we share a mutual passion for long distance running and have run once a week. A brotherhood has grown from this time spent together and as a young man looking for direction in life and I have found a mentor in Brad.
On Dia De Los Muertos, we set out for a 5-mile loop along the harbor and ended in Chicano Park. We witnessed neighbors gathering there in prayer and remembrance for family and friends who have passed. For several hours after our run, Brad and I walked around the park stopping at many of the altars to appreciate the ornate ofrendas with marigolds, favorite foods, drinks, and pictures of the deceased.
Other weeks featured trips to Panchitas Bakery for conchitas or Cuatros Milpas for tacos after our workout. After a few months, we decide to commit to the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon in June—a way to use our running talents to benefit organizations we volunteered with this year.
On Pentecost Sunday, we carried out our plan at each of the Sunday masses at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. After the petitions, our pastor, Fr. John Auther, SJ explained how Brad and I will run the marathon in an effort to fundraise, “We hope you will support los chicos locos in running 26.2 miles.” Brad and I, wearing our marathon gear, raced into the church. In good-humor, we jockeyed for position from the foyer to the altar exchanging “high fives” before the pleasantly surprised congregation.
As I reflect on the tail end of my JV year, I am brought back to the “Prayer for Downward Mobility” from Dean Brackley, SJ. He calls us to take courage to embrace all that comes with a vocation of serving, loving, and walking with others. Brad and I have both been changed by the “miles run” in San Diego and the marathon is a small way in which we can give back.
Written By Jack Fitzgerald (San Diego, 2017-18)