Friday, May 17, 2013
MY FOND RECOLLECTION OF THE PENTECOST PILGRIMAGE FROM PARIS TO CHARTRES
On Pentecost weekend of 1992, I had the great grace to make the 3 day walking pilgrimage from Notre Dame de Paris to Chartres in France. I must say that this experience was a pivotal one in my faith pilgrimage as a Catholic. It was when I finally felt I had authentically arrived at and experienced the Catholic faith of our fore fathers. It was at that time that I came to a clear realization of what it means to be authentically Catholic. It was at that moment that I knew that to be Catholic was to be a traditionalist.
I cannot begin to express the emotion and feelings with which I was overwhelmed while making this 75 mile walking pilgrimage with nearly 10,000 others of one mind, heart and spirit. Arriving at Notre Dame de Paris that morning with thousands of others to be sent forth. It took some hours winding, praying and singing through the streets of the metropol of Paris before arriving at the first stop for Holy Mass in a forest. I shall never forget the bell ringing for communion time and thousands kneeling on the rocky ground at a rope to receive Our Lord. I remember the utter exhaustion of arriving at our campsite in the evening and an adoration chapel was set up and falling asleep to the sound of hymns sung by thousands outside the chapel/tent. We went over hills and through dales through verdent forests and wheat fields. Picturesque landscapes opened before us as one only sees in Europe. We would come through villages and were welcomed by villagers with tears in their eyes weeping at the sight of so many openly proclaiming their faith. They (the villagers) offered us cups of water and bread for our journey. We went through heat, hail stones and drenching rain. I was surrounded by pilgrims from all over the globe from as far away as Argentina. I felt a part of something that was so much bigger than myself. I was making a journey hallowed by centuries of pilgrims. At the end of the pilgrimage I promised myself that I would try to return each year. Unfortunately, it never came to pass. I hope perhaps some day to be able again to accompany those and to renew my own fervor and dedication to my Catholic faith. If God wills it to be.