Father David embarks on Notre Dame Trail to educate hearts and minds

Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 5:46 PM EDT
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With another 33 miles crossed off the map, Notre Dame Trail pilgrims have accomplished more than one-quarter of their journey.

This, now that they've arrived in Crawfordsville after spending two nights in Terre Haute.

Many of the pilgrims partaking in this journey set an intention far in advance.

For Father David – a priest of Holy Cross – he embarked on this trip with the vision to educate hearts and minds.

Father David Eliaona grew up in Tanzania where Mount Kilimanjaro was his playground.

“It’s in the backyard of my house so I have hiked that a few times,” said Father David Eliaona of CSC, a Notre Dame Trail pilgrim.

The mountain takes roughly five days to climb up, and only one day to travel down.

“It’s 20,000 feet. It's a different kind of hiking different kind of walk,” said Eliaona.

Ordained a priest in 2008, Father David is a graduate student of Theology at Notre Dame.

He says two reasons propelled him to participate in the Notre Dame Trail.

“The first one being to learn the legacy. For me, the faith community comes first before [Notre Dame] is an academic community,” said Eliaona.

His second reason for participating is to carry the lessons of strength and unity to East Africa when he returns after his studies.

“I certainly know it's not going to involve 320 miles of walk and biking; but it may be a similar walk and biking within my heart and mind, and those are to instill the same spirit into the rest of the Holy Cross community in East Africa,” said Eliaona.

Each day of the journey represents a unique theme. With that, each pilgrim receives a journal to help focus their thoughts and prayer.

Thursday's theme was patience, and was certainly needed as pilgrims came across spotty weather. The group went through a few patches of rain, but persevered, arriving in Crawfordsville by midday.

Continuing the pilgrimage:

The pilgrimage continues until August 26 when everyone is invited to walk along the final stretch.

That will go from Howard Park in South Bend to Notre Dame's campus where a mass will be held to culminate the two-week journey.

We will have live coverage of that day on WNDU. Stay with NewsCenter 16 throughout the pilgrimage, both on-air and online.


for more information about the Notre Dame Trail.