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SUNDAY 27th MAY: Hope and Christianity

Under the patronage of the Cristero martyrs of Mexico, beatified and canonised by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI

Chapter leaders should talk about the context and the nature of the Cristero movement as well as accounts of the lives of various of the martyrs. These were people of amazing courage, animated by the desire for the reign of Christ the King, aided by grace and instructed by the doctrine of the Church. They are a good example for the theme of this day, Hope and Christianity.

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

The morning departure

Prayer and useful reminders

It is important to place ourselves once again in the spirit and the theme of the pilgrimage, a walk of prayer and penance. A prayer does this most naturally. This prayer can include an offering for the day and a request to God for the graces necessary for us. The grace of a first conversion or of a second conversion. The grace to help us put Christianity back into society, for the greater good of souls and for the greater glory of God. There should also be a prayer asking for the Protection of Our Blessed Lady and the saints we venerate. It is a good idea to announce to the pilgrims the programme for the day and to give them all necessary information. Dont be afraid to ask for a few moments of silence after the morning prayer, and indeed in a general manner after each meditation.
This day is placed under the theme of Hope, hope in our sanctification, hope in Christianity. This year it is asked that the day start with a reminder of what our pilgrimage is about.

Early morning

Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16 : 24
Prayer and Penance, our walk is a personal prayer of intercession

In 1912 Charles Pguy, following a promise he made at the bedside of his sick son, undertook a pilgrimage on foot from Paris to Chartres, between the two cathedrals. He acknowledges his helplessness and in his distress confides his son and his family to Our Lady.
In the footsteps of Charles Pguy, we too take the road to Chartres in a spirit of prayer and penance. This is at the very heart of our aaproach as pilgrims. Each one of us has his or her intentions for which we will ask for the intercession of Our Lady and of all her saints. Personal intentions, faults committed, known or unknown distresses. to our prayers of intercession we add our prayers of offerings and thanksgiving,.
The conditions for good prayer should be outlined: faith, humility, confidence, perseverance, abandon to the will of God and real commitment of our whole being. The fact that we have gone for three days of a walking pilgrimage both signifies and reinforces this. Seminarians and religious are available and ready to add to your meditation with a talk on prayer.

Mid Morning

Thy Kingdom come.
Our march for the Common Go

Pguy, whose footsteps we are walking in, was himself a simple heir to millions of pilgrims throughout the centuries : pilgrims to Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostella pilgrims of all the great sanctuaries both known and those forgotten. These pilgrims greatly contributed to the development of Christendom, a Christian atmosphere throughout Europe, where people welcomed and looked after men and women often in a state of poverty. To our own personal intentions we can add the intentions for the world we live in today, a world that is individualistic and ageing.
Our march is a Christian march. With every step we carry not only our own personal intentions but also the intentions of our home countries, the freedom of the Church, that society might observe the laws of God. If by times circumstances make action difficult, have we taken on our mission, always within our reach, of reparation of offences suffered by Our Lord and His Holy Church ? This is a very important part of our pilgrimage. Penance also is at the heart of our pilgrimage. There should be a talk about penance, what gives it value, the criteria that help chose a penance

Sermon at Mass

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (Acts 2 : 4)
Pentecost, birth of the Church, the hope of renewal for ourselves and our families.

On the morning of Pentecost the apostles were gathered together in the upper room, tongues as of fire came to rest on each one of them and transformed them all in a very visible manner.
The world in which we live in today can leave us saddened and disillusioned or indeed on the other hand euphoric and carried by blind escapist optimism. Its necessary to discern what it is the Holy Spirit wants of us when He comes at Pentecost and in what way we should be quiet and receptive.
The events mentioned in the two following instructions seem similar. In both cases men and women leave everything for the kingdom of God. In the first instruction insist on the necessity to be conscious of the reality of things, in the second insist on the courage and spirit of sacrifice needed to fulfil our mission as pilgrims of Chartres.

Beginning of the Afternoon

The Crusades, free the way to Jesus Christ

Towards the 11th and 12th Centuries the Muslim populations occupying the Holy Land made going to the shrines very difficult. A great movement, a long journey, spread through out Christendom to free the tomb of Christ and allow pilgrims once again be able to visit the shrines in the Holy Land.
These events may seem to us of a bygone age and full of human failings but in fact they are very relevant today. Today many of the ways of going to Our Lord are blocked. The secular state has expelled religion from the social sphere. Cultural life, advertising, audio-visual noise do much to turn souls away from God. Organised Christianophobia discourages the last of those who hold on to their religion. We now have to deal with dangerous and conquering Islam, the punishment for our sins and lukewarmness. Are we aware of those paths of faith and the interior life that are menaced ? Let us consider our responsibilities : towards those who went before us and whose heritage has been eradicated, towards our contemporaries who count on us, towards our children who will only have what we leave them. It is our responsibility, as Catholics in 2007, to work for the liberty of the Church. This early afternoon instruction is not to demoralise the pilgrim, but to awaken him to the realities around us. Have we not got too used to a wide variety of sin, to abortion that that can be taking place right around the corner, to insults made against religion, to a naive optimism that everything will be alright ? Let us commit ourselves to look at the realities in truth and in depth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5 : 6)

Middle of the Afternoon

The Uprising of the Cristeros in Mexico

In Mexico from 1926 to 1930 the anti-Christian government tried to eliminate the Church. Many Catholics resisted, it was the birth of the Cristeros Movement, soldiers of Christ the King.
This event, written in blood, little known to most of us, is an edifying example for our pilgrimage and challenges us in our own faith. What am I capable of if faced with a less difficult situation ? To act means sacrificing a part of oneself. Its a question of developing in ourselves the souls of crusaders, not in the violent Islamic manner, but in the manner of Christian justice and charity.
Let us ask for the grace and the courage to keep on marching after the pilgrimage. It is the devil who makes us think that the ???? is too much, that the obstacle is insurmountable. All things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9 : 22). The most profound joy awaits us at the end of our sacrifices.
Renew our willingness to take part in public life, in particularly local public life. Let us prepare our after pilgrimage resolutions knowing that inevitably we will have to sacrifice some of our well being and of our time.

End of the Afternoon

In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
90 years ago Our Lady lit up the sky of Fatima.

90 years ago Our Lady appeared in Fatima. Her message was very personal, but it was also political. She asked that Russia be publicly consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. At this point in the afternoon a brief summary of the apparitions at Fatima can be made.
Sister Lucy used to say The Immaculate Heart of Mary is my refuge especially in the most difficult of hours. It is there that I am always safe the Immaculate Heart is the canal by which God pours forth into my soul the multitude of His graces.
One manner of rekindling our souls and our Christianity is proposed to us by two great Marian saints : Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort and more recently Saint Maximilien Kolbe. The latter founded the Militia Immaculata (Army of the Immaculate) to fight against the enemies of the Church and particularly against the freemasons. This manner is to consecrate oneself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As in every year, during the day, and more especially during this meditation, we talk about the evening ceremony of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and for those who have prepared for it; individual consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This year, to mark the 25th anniversary of our pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres and to prepare for the future, we want to reinforce by a more thorough preparation this practice of individual consecration. In the second half of the ceremony the Saint Joseph Chapter, the chapter of the head pilgrimage organisers, will consecrate the Association Notre Dame de Chrtient and its work. Naturally all those involved in organising the pilgrimage, and particularly chapter leaders, are invited to take part.

Monday 28th May 2007

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