Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Spring and Eastertide Brings Thoughts of (and Preparations for) Pilgrimages

With the spring season now upon us and the fields and meadows coming to life; further having turned the corner from Lent and having moved into Eastertide, my mind turned to a topic which I find of great interest and inspiration each year. I am speaking of the matter of pilgrimages. I am not thinking of those to the Holy Land nor to Rome, but rather those characterized by hikes through the countryside, with Masses offered, and which are often characterized by the notable presence of youthful participants who share a common love for Our Lord, His Church and its liturgical inheritance.

Why this turn of mind while we yet sit within the Octave of Easter? In part it is for reason of the spring season itself of course, for the nicer weather naturally lends itself to a consideration of outdoor activities -- including those within the spiritual realm. In part it is for reason of contemplating the forthcoming feast of Pentecost which will conclude Eastertide, a feast which is -- for myself at least -- strongly associated with one of the most famous of such pilgrimages, the Chartres pilgrimage which makes its way from Notre Dame de Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres in France. (In this, that pilgrimage's 28th year, I am also struck by the pertinence of this year's theme in the light of the present controversies: "The Church is Our Mother". A very useful and poignant point to recollect.)

Of course, many other such pilgrimages also occur as we move closer to Pentecost and into the summer season generally. In fact, I am grateful that my mind turned to this matter, for it provides some necessary lead time to encourage our readers to consider participating in one of them, or to even consider organizing their own pilgrimages in their own locales. (I would especially encourage our priests to consider this.)

Events as these are not only exteriorly powerful witnesses to the Faith, but further can be memorable and character-forming spiritual events whose influence can last a lifetime.

Now indeed is the time to plan and to make plans -- and so I hope you will forgive this small intrusion into the Octave of Easter.

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