Thursday, May 15, 2008

We all survived again!!

St Patrick's Chapter walked, limped and was baked on its merry way to Chartres again this year. Led by yours truly (well actually led by a triumvirate and a unimulierate - i.e. 3 men and one woman) the 35 odd pilgrims (some of them very odd) battled heat, dust, blisters and aches-and-pains to cover 100 kms in 2.5 days. Most of them even managed to stay awake for the Dominican Rite High Mass at the end of it all.

The Irish Chapter started its spiritual journey again this year in the Collège des Irlandais with Mass celebrated (in the EF needless to say) by our Chaplain, Fr Michael Cahill. Unfortunately the first test of the pilgrims forbearance, longanimity and other such virtues was the delayed flight which meant that half of us missed it!

However, we had at least a very pleasant dinner and a few hours of sleep in a hot and sticky Paris. Saturday dawned fine and bright, and the Chapter assembled in good order for the March away from the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Except for the fact that I forgot to load the batteries into the loud-hailer. (Or bullhorn or whatever you want to call it.) Of course we had batteries - they were just in my baggage which was on a completely inaccessible truck. Nothing daunted, M. MacGuill de Clichy set off on a municipal bicycle (I kid you not) and found fresh batteries which with some coaxing got the chapter meditations and rosaries started via loudspeaker.

We had a Missa Cantata by a lake in Verrieres (where it must have been 25 degrees centigrade at least) and was certainly the hottest days walk that I could remember for 7 or 8 years. Anyway I made it as far as the last rest-stop where some kind friends (senior pilgrims from the UK who drive most and walk part of the route) gave me a lift to the bivouac.

Sunday was more of the same weather-wise, hot and sunny. Mass was in a forest this time, which was rather nicer in terms of the shade offered; the afternoon walk was even a little harder than Saturday's but we were all a bit more used to it by then. Sunday evening we had the long walk into the Bivouac at Gas which feels like it will never end until it suddenly does! We (not just the Irish but our Celtic cousins the Bretons with whom we march) got the comfy end of the campsite too; lots of weeds underneath us and very few rocks! There was Benediction and Adoration too but many of the Irish Group were just too tired to do anything more than eat and then sleep.

Pentecost Monday gave yet more brilliant sunshine, and my equally brilliant chapter kept up a round of mediations, prayers (in four languages but mea culpa no Dutch this year) and songs (including this one) that took us all the way to Chartres Cathedral itself. The High Mass was celebrated in the Dominican Rite! Msgr Pansard, the bishop of Chartres, was present and gave the final blessing; in fact he seemed at least gruntled but perhaps even pleased to be there.

Here he is giving his blessing in the final procession.

Anyway suffice it to say that we had a very good time, and even a little fun along the way. The Pilgrimage ended with Chez Nous, Soyez Reine echoing in a resounding chorus around the Cathedral and indeed on the parvis.

Our pilgrimage finished on Tuesday morning at 9.00 am with Mass in Notre Dame de Sous Terre, the very oldest part of the Cathedral, down in the Crypt. Of course, as the walking and praying (the more penitential aspects of the trip) were now over we feasted a little. Dinner on Monday night was good but if you're ever in Chartres lunch at the Café Serpente is a must. Our only disappointment this year: there was no confit de canard on the menu. Oh well...

All told it was exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure. Three days of prayer (some of it for the grace to survive the next hour or even the next few steps), penance (blisters, sore feet, aches & pains) and grace (we all got through it and are all still friends!) are over now until next year. (If you haven't yet tried Chartres but would like a little taster try one of these and see if you like the experience. If you do, then drop us a line and come on board next year!)

PS I came across a post on this blog which mentioned the possibility of an Irish Chapter going to Chartres next year! Then I realised that the poster Guillaume was referring to our Semi-Separated Brethern of the Pelerinage de Tradition. It goes from Chartres to Paris and gave rise to the comment by the editor of the Brandsma Review that it's a bit like the late T. A. P. Milligan's I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas! It includes the immortal lines
I've tried walking sideways,
And walking to the front,
But people just look at me,
And say it's a publicity stunt.


lowdenclear said...

And I must say, it's brilliant having you home... :-D

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this report of the Pilgrimage, it was spoiled by the unpleasant comment about the Society of S.Pius X pilgrimage.It is sad that traditional Catholics attack or criticise others who would share the same faith,Mass and outlook. When we have an Archbishop of Dublin who is prepared to confirm in the traditional rite yet one month prior to this he will be present(with other Catholics) at the installation of a married priest as Dean of Christchurch, we are in a frightening situation indeed.In a country where there are,now, only three authorised "legal" Sunday Masses,surely more effort should be made to promote the traditional faith and rites and less spent on getting at other good people.
Alan Robinson

Éamonn said...

I take your point about unity among traditional Catholics, Alan, but that unity has to be predicated on unity with and subject to the Apostolic and Roman See. This is a hard, ineluctable unity which the SSPX doesn't recognise at the moment, preferring their own rather woolly "eternal Rome" formulation. For the rest - I'm afraid that my blog is often simply a platform for my own slightly silly sense of humour hence the reference to Spike Milligan. I presume that SSPX leaning traditional Catholics are no less able to take a joke than anyone else?

Guillaume said...

Dear eamonn. Thanks for your report. We had, like Mass, confessions, sacraments, songs, prayers and nearly number of pilgrims, both pilgrimages shared something in common : the very nice weather ! To be honest, i followed this pilgrimage, because my whole family was there, walking and organizing it. On our blog, I promoted numerous times the Pelerinage de Chretiente ! Actually, I promoted it first. If I could cloned myself (maybe I should to England for that... only joking), I would do both pilgrimages. I do not promote SPPX as such and only. I promote, though, the Tradition in a whole. And today, as you know, it is not easy even if the Motu Proprio had helped a lot. There are members of SPPX in Ireland, who didn't have the occasion to go to France in order to do the pilgrimage. The idea of an Irish Chapter at the Chartres-Paris way, was certainly not to create a competition with you, but an addition ! I know the French Traditional would welcome it certainly. Anyway, I am glad your Pilgrimage was a success. God Bless.

Éamonn said...

Thanks for your kind words, Guillaume. I know that there used to be an Irish Chapter on the Pelerinage de Tradition and it would certainly be good to see one again; I remember meeting them (from about 100 metres distance) about 7 or 8 years ago on Pentecost Sunday. It's also very good news that the Chartres-Paris pilgrimage had a great success this year; ad multos annos!

Oremus pro invicem!

Guillaume said...

alleluia ! Thanks also for this response ! Hopefully, i would be able to join one of your LMSI pilgrimage in june or july. And there is a Chapter, i think the name is the 11 martyrs or something, on both pilgrimage, and they meet in the Rambouillet forest and pray in common for a while. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these good replies. I'd prefer to acknowledge,accept and follow,even if it is wooly, an Eternal Rome rather than an Archbishop who attends ( he might be taking part,I am not certain) non-Catholic services celebrating the work of a man who has abandoned the Catholic priesthood in favour of the Church of Ireland.I have problems with a Bendict XVI who praises the "healthy secularity of the state" and who wrote [23rd Nov.2006]"It is our ferevent hope that the Anglican communion will remain grounded in the gospels and the apostolic tradition which form our common patrimony". No need for conversion,are Anglican faith & morals of the Apostolic tradition ?
I know that there are problems with SSPX & their regularity, but I still believe that I share communion of belief with them and the pre-Vatican II Popes,priests and bishops,which is more important than canonical legality,more than many of the official hierarchy of the Catholic church.
All the same I am glad that in your comment you recognise the "SSPX leaning" as Catholics ! Alan Robinson

Patrick said...

Alan: cf. I Cor 13: "4 Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; 5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." I quote St Paul with reference to your attitude towards the Archbishop of Dublin. Pardon me, but it is not that of a Catholic. Pray for him, do not criticise him. He is doing more for the traditional Mass in Ireland than anyone else. He is the successor of the apostles, he is the instrument of God. Pray for him. Please.

Éamonn said...

I think, Patrick, that you have conflated distinct issues. Archbishop Martin has done much for the TLM - we thank him for that. He is a successor of the Apostles - we respect his office. He is my Ordinary (but not Alan's) - I obey him and pray for him, most certainly. However, the idea that we must pray for but never criticise our Bishops is simply nonsense. It's not true. Criticism ought to be rational, well grounded and measured but need not be withheld simply because the target of it is in episcopal orders. After all, who betrayed the Faith during the Arian heresy? And in the time of Henry VIII's schism? And during the repression which followed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in France in 1792? Should they too be immune from criticism?

Malka said...

Keep up the good work.