More and more walkers on the Chartres pilgrimage

More than 14,000 pilgrims are expected this Pentecost weekend on the road to Chartres. A success for this 40e edition of the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Christianity.

Chartres rings, Chartres finally calls them again! As the Pentecost weekend approaches, and after two years of interruption due to the “covid crisis”, the pilgrims do not hide their happiness to resume the road which will lead them from the Saint-Sulpice church, in Paris, to Notre-Dame de Chartres cathedral, on the occasion of the 40e pilgrimage organized by Our Lady of Christianity Association. ” It is a great joy to find the column of walkers, the topos of the priests, this prayerful and friendly atmosphere, and this path at the end of which we will see the two spiers of the cathedral pointing. I already have images in my head “says Clémence, 26, who is delighted to introduce her fiancé to the pilgrimage this year.

spiritual restlessness

I’m thirsty for this pele. I go there like a reunion with dear friends I haven’t seen for a long time: both happy and a little worried not to find everything as before., confesses Maylis who walks with the “Pilgrims of Emmaus”, a chapter which evangelizes the passers-by crossed on the road. Like many pilgrims, however, the young woman has wandered for the past two years at Pentecost, but in a more confidential form due to the health measures imposed by the government. Nearly 400 “Chartres micro-pilgrimages” took place locally across France and abroad in 2020 and 2021. “ The first year we organized a missionary day and the following year two days of walking and evangelization, but this has nothing to do with the way we usually do the pilgrimage. “, she comments.

Indeed, I observe an enthusiasm and a spiritual impatience. It is the good fruit of the last two years that have deepened the desire and the need to make this pilgrimage says Father Alexis Garnier, Chaplain General of Notre-Dame de Chrétienté. For his part, the president of the association, Jean de Tauriers is pleased with the number of registrations recorded this year: ” Participation is not weakening, we will exceed the 14,000 registered mark reached in 2019. People are very mobilized. There will probably be a few fewer foreigners due to health constraints. In particular, we will not have pilgrims from Japan and New Zealand this year, but around fifty new chapters have emerged. including a chapter from the island of Malta, a chapter from the SOS Calvaires association, another supported by Navis Fidelis, the Catholic dating site. Ukrainian refugees will also walk with us “. In addition to these walking pilgrims, there are “guardian angels” bringing together people who cannot be physically present on the road but who perform the pilgrimage spiritually. This year their number has increased by 50% in France and by 75% abroad, particularly in Argentina and the United States.

A video message to Pope Francis

The motu proprio Traditionis custodes of July 16, 2021, restricting the celebration of the Tridentine rite, did not seem to slow down the faithful. On the contrary. ” Many pilgrims perceive the importance of this act of faith and prayer which is also a protest of filial love inseparably towards tradition and towards the Catholic Church.notes Father Garnier. It is not a demonstration but a public act of faith, a small reflection of what the Catholic Church is in its unity and diversity. “. In this spirit, Jean de Tauriers has recorded a short video presentation of the pilgrimage to the pope in which he explains the DNA of Notre-Dame de Chrétienté, as well as the way in which Catholics experience the constraints imposed by the motu proprio Traditionis quarter quarters. It will be presented to the pilgrims on the day of departure after the mass to launch the pilgrimage.

Some also underline the arrival of newcomers intrigued by this decision of the Holy Father. ” If the pilgrimage to Chartres has always attracted both people belonging to the traditional sphere and people who are totally foreign to it but who are curious to discover the Tridentine Mass, I am particularly struck this year by the number of non-traditional people who asked me questions about the Tridentine rite and told me of their wish to come during these three days to discover it notes Stanislas, 37, a longtime pilgrim. This is the case of Jean-Sébastien, 32, recently converted and baptized at Easter this year: “ I would like to get to know the traditional world better and learn about this mass which I attend from time to time but without understanding everything. There, I will be able to be accompanied and live a spiritual moment in communion with other believers “.

Several bishops present

Several bishops will be present throughout the weekend. Monsignor Eric Aumonier, Bishop Emeritus of Versailles, will celebrate the mass for the pilgrimage on Saturday morning at Saint-Sulpice. The Bishop of Nanterre, Monsignor Rougé will welcome pilgrims at the entrance to his diocese on Saturday morning as he had already done in 2019. Monsignor Philippe Christory, the Bishop of Chartres, will walk and dine with them on Sunday. He will also deliver the homily during the closing Mass which will be celebrated by Father Andrzej Komorowski, Superior of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. For Stanislas, the presence of these bishops, to which are added many diocesan priests, is ” a sign of unity in the Church and the mark of the confidence of our pastors in the ability of the faithful to continue evangelization, including through the traditional Mass “. ” I have great confidence in the Churchhe continues, despite the quarrels and uncertainties, it is the Holy Spirit who leads us all “.

Elisabeth Caillemer

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More and more walkers on the Chartres pilgrimage

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