Bike4Vocations Completes Coast to Coast Journey

Jul 11, 2023

Bike4Vocations began on April 17th as Fern and Geoffrey Greenwell embarked on a 3800 mile bicycle
trip from Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Florida to Our Lady of Victory in Seaside, Oregon. Fr.
Peter Julia, the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Portland, joined Fern in Bridal Veil for a 25
mile leg to St. Stephen Parish which hosted a holy hour, Mass, and reception on July 5th.
The couple from Tucson, Arizona was motivated to dedicate the “pedal-grimage” for vocations after
reading about the dismal statistics of vocations in America. They have taken Canon Law 233 to heart.
“The duty of fostering vocations rests with the entire Christian community so that the needs of the sacred
ministry in the universal Church are provided for sufficiently. This duty especially binds Christian families,
educators, and, in a special way, priests, particularly pastors.” Geoffrey said, “As lay persons we feel this
need deeply as the lack of vocations affects us who are in need of the sacramental care of holy priests.”
Fern wanted to achieve her goal to ride across the country before she turned 60. Riding an average of 60
miles a day, Geoffrey followed close behind her in their RV. As a secular third order Carmelite, Fern felt a
personal call to complete a pilgrimage praying for potential priests and nuns. She said, “My favorite
places to ride through have been where we have seen beautiful young priests throughout the country.”
At the Portland reception, the couple was glad to report that in their experience, “It has been rewarding
to see American Catholicism. The Church is not dying. The Holy Spirit is in control. Do not take the
treasure of your parish for granted.”
An experienced competitive bicyclist and rock climber, Fr. Julia jumped back in the saddle for two and a
half hours for the sake of raising awareness of the need for more priests. He said, “It is great to do
unique things to bring attention to the importance of growing a culture of vocations. I’m grateful for the
opportunity to enjoy a ride, promote vocations, and pray with new friends.”
Fr. Eric Andersen, Pastor of St. Stephen Parish, was thankful that several seminarians have come from
the parish. He said, “I am encouraged by Fern’s journey and presence.”
Completing the 83 day trip in Seaside on July 6, 2023 with 64 days of riding, the Greenwells have had no
great traumas and only one memorable argument. They said, “We are of course most grateful for the
safe passage and attribute this to Our Lord and His Mother and of course the great and swift support of
the Holy Spirit.”
Their spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage have been to find a church at each stop and to pray for the
bishop and seminarians in each diocese they passed through.  “It is a deep and wonderful blessing to
have a welcome at the end,” Geoffrey said. “We hold this very especially in our hearts. May you get a
cascade of vocations!”
Learn more about their journey at bike4vocations.org.

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