In Via Podcast: Interview with Host, Joan Watson

In Via, the brand new travel and faith podcast launched just on October 3, 2023. We sat down with Joan Watson, Verso Ministries Pilgrim Formation Manager, to find out more about this podcast at the intersection of travel and faith.

Why a podcast?

When I started working at Verso back in March, my mind was spinning with all the great work that Verso Ministries did for their pilgrims. I was hired to oversee formation, but John Paul, Stephanie, and the entire team before me had been crafting formation resources and walking with pilgrims so well already! I knew that whatever house I built, I would be building on a good foundation.

I was so impressed with what Verso offered their pilgrims, I couldn’t help but wonder how we could offer it to more people–those who couldn’t travel, who didn’t want to travel, or who might travel with someone else. I love podcasts and I love talking, so…. A podcast seemed like a natural project!

I thought Verso only planned trips?

We see our ministry as so much more than planning trips. Do we book hotels, tours, and plan itineraries? Sure. But just as a pilgrimage is so much more than a vacation (see episode two!), so also a pilgrimage company should be about so much more than itineraries and reservations. Anyone can find a good restaurant and get you tickets for a museum. We want to help you encounter Christ. That’s why we not only have a team to work on the operations and support side, but also the formation side!

Verso is committed to helping people explore the world and discover what God has in store for them. We do this physically by leading people on pilgrimages, but we believe we can do it virtually too: by introducing people to the places God has made himself known so that people are drawn to encounter him in the tangible, material world.

What is the purpose of the podcast?

We hope the podcast will serve as a doorway to speak about spiritual life and our quest for holiness by using travel and the lessons learned during physical pilgrimages to address the deeper questions of the pilgrimage of this life. The first time St. Augustine used the word pilgrimage, he wasn’t referring to a physical trip to a holy site. He was talking about the Christian life. All of us are on a pilgrimage towards heaven. The physical pilgrimages we take to holy sites are microcosms of that pilgrimage.

What does In Via mean?

In Via is Latin for on the road, or on the way. We are all travelers on the way, regardless of whether we’re physically traveling! There are so many things we can take from this image– the need to accompany each other on this journey and what that entails (patience, compassion, mercy, a sense of humor!), the fact that we’re all works in progress, and the reassurance that even our most boring, mundane day has meaning when viewed as a step on this pilgrimage.

How often will we hear from you?

In the beginning, we are going to release episodes every other Tuesday. If you want to make sure you don’t miss an episode, make sure you subscribe on your favorite podcast platform!


 

Want to hear more from Joan and amazing show guests from all over the world? Check out the In Via podcast here for new episodes dropped every two weeks!

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