Hiking events

Morning miles: the group combines faith and hiking

Above: Henry Moree (second from left) started Saturday Rides for Young Catholic Adults in 2020. Emily Shira (third from right) is new to the area and participated with the group in a recent hike in Cary.


Looking around the Triangle area, the growth is evident. New apartment buildings and construction are a clue. In the fall of 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Raleigh was the 10th most popular city for people moving to a new metropolitan area. According to many estimates, around 5,000 people move to the Triangle region each month.

Emily Shira, 27, is one of them. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she attended the University of Notre Dame and lived in Michigan after graduation. The job brought her to the Raleigh-Durham area in April 2022. She only knew a few people, but had a good experience meeting people and making friends through Catholic young adult groups when was new to Michigan.

Shira also tried out in Raleigh. She joined a GroupMe for young Catholic adults and saw a post about a hike, and thought it sounded like a great opportunity to meet people.

“Showing up to a hike without knowing anyone is a lot less daunting than showing up to some sort of large group event, so it felt like something I could do on my own, Shira said. NC Catholics after attending a hike on April 30 at Cary’s Bond Park. “I loved that it took me to both a new park and a new part of town. One of my favorite parts of the hike is how naturally conversations can flow when you’re walking right next to someone so this hike turned out to be a great way to get to know multiple people through one-on-one conversations as the groups moved and moved throughout hiking.

The hikes take place every Saturday morning and are organized by Henry Moree, a parishioner from St. Luke’s in Raleigh. Moree is also a volunteer administrator of the Raleigh Catholic Young Adults Group on Facebook.

Hikes begin with a prayer or rosary, and the group visits places in the Triangle, such as William B. Umstead State Park, the Museum of North Carolina Art, and Goodnight Park. Recently the group visited the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill following a member’s recommendation.

The rides are open to anyone who wants to join. Although many hikers are in their 20s and 30s, some are older and all ages are welcome. And while many hikers are new to the area, just as many have been here for years.

Moree, originally from Holly Springs, began these organized hikes in June 2020 when he returned to the Triangle area.

“I moved here at the height of the pandemic…I wanted to build friendships through the Church. Considering everything going on at the time, a regular outdoor gathering seemed fine, so I posted the idea to Raleigh Catholic Young Adults, and it caught on,” said Moree, 27. .

Like Shira, Moree had a positive experience in another state with a similar group, and he was looking to replicate that here.

“I lived in Kansas City for a few years after college and shortly after my conversion to Catholicism. The Catholic community in this metro was exceptional. It was instrumental in my social and spiritual life during my time there. there, and I keep to this day the close friendships I made there.

The hiking group finds unique ways to integrate faith into the experience of friendship and nature.

It is not uncommon to hear conversations about favorite saints or theology.

A friend of Moree’s, who is a priest, attends the hikes most weekends. “He gets asked a lot of questions about theology, monastic life, etc. from those present, Catholic and non-Catholic,” Moree said. “I personally learned a lot from these conversations!”

Moree also learned how the simple act of walking promotes conversation and how the group can grow and change. For the past two years they have added lunch at a nearby restaurant after the walk for those who want to attend.

“Most of the time…the best ‘Catholic stuff’ comes in the form of natural conversation while hiking and at lunch. The hikes are deliberately laid back, so many different faith-related topics come up naturally, as well as everything that goes on in people’s lives. Also, since we strive to create a Catholic setting but make it open to everyone, we have many organic conversations about faith with non-Catholic friends that people invite to join us,” Moree said.

It’s not uncommon for hikers to talk about life events, such as work, pets (which are also welcome), finding a new place to live, or getting married. Moree himself is engaged to Mallory Fields, of Youngsville, who joins him on the rides.

“The heavier topics are interesting and the lighter ones are fun, so I love how this informal setting allows for a natural blending of those. I also love how it has evolved over time to suit suggestions from people. We added a devotional when someone brought up the idea of ​​praying together, we added a lunch after the hike after the idea of ​​eating together after one of the hikes, and we tried a park in Chapel Hill after someone requested a hike in that area.

Do you want to take part in a hike?

For the latest information, visit the Google Catholic Young Adult Hikes site or email [email protected] to sign in.