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SATURDAY 26th May 2007: “FAITH and TRADITION”


‘I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you’
1 Corinthians 11:23
Under the patronage of The Patriarch Abraham

Chapter leaders should present the Old Testament patriarch as soon as possible, situating him within the theme of the day. Particular emphasis should be placed on fidelity to the Word of God throughout the history of the Chosen People, of the Church and finally of our own souls.

At a moment that best seems appropriate during the day the Chapter Leader will read out an important declaration which will remind all pilgrims of our attachment to Catholic Tradition. This text will be found in the pilgrim booklet distributed at the beginning of the pilgrimage.


Pilgrimage Send Off from Notre Dame of Paris

“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house” …. so Abraham went, as the Lord had told him”
Genesis 12, 1 … 4


By this introduction we put ourselves straight into the spirit of the pilgrimage, it’s enough to let ourselves be guided by God Himself who addresses Himself to each one of us. This walking pilgrimage brings our bodies to Chartres but God brings our souls towards a destination that only He knows. Let ourselves be carried in confidence, let us be ready to renounce our all too human attachments.


Once there is sufficient calm, before the first halt of the morning

Presentation of the Pilgrimage

This presentation made by the chapter leader is one of the most important moments in the pilgrimage. It is at this moment that the chapter should be reminded of the aims of our pilgrimage, at the same time creating a climate of confidence with the pilgrims. This presentation should not limit itself to a long list of rules but in a convincing manner should give pilgrims the desire to comply with the spirit of the pilgrimage for the three days of the walk. The presentation should therefore include the following:
• How the pilgrimage operates, what the three-day walk entails, the spirit of walking and penance
• Presentation of the theme that will form the subject matter of the different instructions over the three days
• Practical points, what can or cannot be done, what is expected of a pilgrim, reading and commenting on the ‘undertakings of the pilgrim’, in particular on dress, attitude and modesty, Christian virtues often badly understood in a world invaded by hedonism and eroticism.
• Invite pilgrims to the Saturday night vigil as well as to Benediction on Sunday night. Point out that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and awaits our visits all night in the little chapel set up in each of the camp sites.
• Make an explicit announcement that within the chapter there will be moments of silence and contemplation which everyone is expected to observe. This is to redress a tendency in the last few years towards commotion and excessive noise during the pilgrimage.
• Explain what may not be obvious, why the use of Latin etc…

These above points should be covered again at various times over the three days. Chapter leaders should communicate these guiding principals clearly and with both precision and charity. If need be they can ask a priest to help them.


Between the morning halt and Mass at Midday

Presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is good here to remind ourselves what is the Mass, the non-bloody renewal of the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross. Attention should be paid to carefully explaining certain aspects of the rite, particularly those points that might be surprising to some (Latin, kneeling, the priest facing God as opposed to facing the congregation, silence, Communion on the tongue….). Draw attention to the beauty of the liturgy, the sense of mystery, of the sacred, of the transcendental and the direct connection with the Doctrine of the Church. This presentation should be made delicately and with charity but without watering down the teaching.

Seminarians and Religious are at your disposition to talk on this subject, don’t hesitate to ask for their help at this stage or later.


Sermon at Mass

“I will arise and go to my father” Luke 15 : 18
The Return of the Prodigal Son


The prodigal son squandered all he had, he is alone, sickened at the thought of his sins. Humility saves him. Suffering helps him to return home. The sermon at Mass will stir in the souls of the pilgrims the attitude of the prodigal son who, faced with the reality of his nothingness and of his misery, sees as his only option a humble return to the father from whom he has received everything. This sermon will naturally talk about sacramental confession. The sermon will also talk about the attitude of the eldest son that is often our own attitude, we who have received so much


Beginning of the Afternoon

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20 : 2 The crossing of the desert – Receiving the Ten Commandments – Obedience of Faith.

The Chosen People crossed the desert. During this long march towards the Promised Land they went from moments of confidence to moments of rebellion (the Golden Calf, yearning for the ‘good food’ in Egypt (Numbers 11:5) ….) In the dessert they have to learn to look to God for everything. On Mount Sinai Moses received the Ten Commandments which were to unite the Jewish people in a fidelity to the Law of God.

We have left Paris, our journey is going to be long. Our souls try to aim for loftier things but there will be plenty of temptations, for example the temptation to simply make do with a nice easygoing unchallenging pilgrimage.

What golden calves have we to defeat in our souls ? Do we know what we should believe, hope, do, and the means to attain our salvation ? Do we know the History of Salvation such as the Scriptures teach us ? Have we our eyes fixed closely on the teachings of the Catholic Church ? Do we accept Catholic Doctrine from the Church, as resumed in the Catechism, as Moses accepted the Ten Commandments ? Observing the Tradition of the Church also means instructing oneself in the teachings of the Church.


During the afternoon

Sacramental Confession

The afternoon should continue by allowing pilgrims to approach the sacrament of penance. This theme should be revisited over the three days, with the assistance of priests, religious and seminarians. Experience has shown that often the deciding moment for the pilgrim does not take place on the very first day. It is worthwhile talking about the immense benefit of a good confession, our sins are wiped away, we are brought back to God, we grow in love of God. Talk also about how to prepare for a good confession (What happens ? What should I say ? How do I list out my sins ?….)
It is a good idea to present the sacrament of penance together with our theme : in particular taking as an example and commenting on the approach of the Prodigal Son and that of Naaman the Syrian who came to be cleansed of his leprosy.


End of the Afternoon

‘We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2 : 2
The coming of the Wise Men and the adoration of the Child Jesus.


The faith of the Wise Men compels them to leave their faraway countries and undertake a long journey to go adore the Saviour of the world. They follow a star, a rather small and insignificant sign. Do we know how to leave our own everyday lives, our every day comfort, and go search the way that God has marked out for us ? What efforts are we capable of making to search for and apply ourselves to the will of God ? Do we adore in spirit and in truth ? If we keep faith when everything is going well, do we keep faith also in times of difficulty ? This meditation will develop and expand the meditation earlier in the afternoon, in outlining the trials that faith has to cross, the difficulties that have to be overcome, the purification that will allow our faith to grow. Let us go forward with confidence, the joy of adoring God awaits us at the end of our earthly pilgrimage.

Sunday 27th May 2007

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