Starting at the 12:45 mark, Will explains in an interview on the Mike Allen Radio Show what led him to found the project and what the plans were for the first pilgrimage.
Will F. Peterson, Founder and President – Will experienced firsthand radical Catholic hospitality on trips to Iowa and North Dakota during college during which he recognized that American Catholicism contains a multitude of people willing to open their doors to travelers. A pilgrimage to Rome for Pope Francis’s first Easter while an undergraduate stirred the first thoughts of a pilgrimage ministry as he felt the immense power of a physical journey of faith shared with others. In teaching for two years in an under-resourced Catholic high school in Memphis, TN, he saw the limiting effects of not having the opportunity to come into contact with people who may have shared beliefs, but different views and experiences of life. After two years as a middle school English teacher at St. Therese Academy in San Diego, he now works full time with MCP. He has been a speaker at Catholic and pilgrimage-related conferences, a writer for academic, diocesan, and lay publications, and a guest of various Catholic media outlets.
Mara Stolee, Director of Operations and Growth - Mara recalls responding to the call to pilgrimage for the first time when she attended World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016. There, she encountered God's radical mercy and love shown through the hospitality of the Polish people. She has gone on to visit other international and domestic pilgrimage sites, including the Basilica San Domenico in Siena, the Basilica of el Cobre in Santiago (Cuba), and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse (United States). Mara started to get involved with Modern Catholic Pilgrim when she helped to organize a group pilgrimage to the Basilica of Saint Mary for the Feast of Saint Anne in 2019. She resides in Minneapolis, MN, where she works as technology management consultant and serves on the Parish Council at the Basilica of Saint Mary.
Father Christopher Iwancio, OFM Cap, Chaplain - He is a member of the Western American Province of the Capuchin Franciscans who was ordained in 2015 and is currently assigned as Chaplain at St. Francis High School in La Canada, CA, which is just outside of Pasadena.
For a number of years, he has been interested in pilgrimages, having chaperoned a number of them with young people as well as eventually walking the Camino in Spain. As part of his doctoral dissertation, he studied the influence of pilgrimage on young people.
David Cable, Co-Founder and Board Chair – Eagle Scout with experience backpacking throughout North and South America. Realized powerful lessons in humility and hospitality through traveling with others in unfamiliar territory. Encountered God’s glory within the wilderness of His creation. Taught social studies and religion for two years at a high-poverty parochial school in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Witnessed the strength and generosity of a tight-knit and generous community within a poverty-stricken area. Currently, working from Minneapolis, MN in research and sales for a prominent software company.
Cort Peters, Vice Chair - An alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, he completed the university's ACE teaching program before spending three years in the Congregation of Holy Cross's seminary. From there, Cort has spent time as a principal of multiple Catholic schools and, having received his Master's in Sport Performance and Psychology, now counsels athletes at all levels on how to sustain growth in their respective sports. His counsel extends to pilgrims as well. He is a retreat leader and spiritual director as well as the co-founder of Abba Father Institute and Play Like A Champion Today San Diego.
Anthony J. Petz, Secretary/Treasurer - A native of Detroit, Anthony moved to San Diego in 2014. His first pilgrimage experience was a 32-day/500-mile trek along the historic El Camino Real, visiting eleven of the twenty-one California missions (starting at Mission San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego and ending at Mission San Antonio de Padua, northwest of Jolon). Anthony currently works as a CPA in San Diego. His spiritual heroes include San Junipero Serra, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Blessed Solanus Casey. Siempre adelante! Verso l'alto! Blessed be God in all His Designs!
Anthony at far right
Tom Gallagher- Catholic lawyer, writer, and developer
Tim Connors- Founder, PivotNorth Capital; Co-founder, OneParish app
Timothy Mullner - President, Pathfinders Pilgrimage Company
David Murphy - Founder, Quo Vadis