PRELIMINARY INFORMATION 2016
Welcome to the 34th Chartres Pilgrimage (2016)! Briefly, we walk from Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, to Notre-Dame Cathedral, Chartres, involving 70 miles in three days. This involves long hours of walking, early morning starts, arriving at the campsite late in the evenings and requires a reasonable level of fitness.
The British Pilgrimage starts on Friday 13 May 2016 with the Holy Mass in Westminster Cathedral Crypt at 7.00am and the coach leaves for Calais at 7.30am. Each day on the Pilgrimage the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be celebrated and we will also meditate on the Holy Rosary. Also, confession and spiritual guidance will be available throughout the day. On Tuesday 17 May 2016, there is Mass in the Crypt of Chartres Cathedral before the coach takes us back to England via the Eurotunnel arriving at Westminster Cathedral at 8.00pm.
Chartres is at the centre of the religious history of France. Since Roman times, when the "Virgo Paritura" was venerated here, to the present day, the shrine has not ceased to attract pilgrims from the most distinguished (all the kings of France) to the most humble.
The Chartres pilgrimage is a very old tradition in France, and has been given new vigour by the association Notre-Dame de Chrétienté‚ which has organised it for over 30 years. The president of the Association is Jean de Tauriers and the new Chaplain is Abbé Alexis Garnier.
The pilgrimage is a walk of prayer and penance, and has both an individual and a social character. Encouraged by Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and numerous bishops, over 8,000 pilgrims take part, with about 750 coming from 20 foreign countries. All are united in prayer to Our Lady during a three-day walk of 70 miles, making this the largest pilgrimage of its kind in Western Europe, both in the distance covered and in the number of pilgrims. Each day, Mass is celebrated in the most beautiful way, according to the Roman Missal of Pope John XXIII. The liturgy is the traditional Latin one: magnificent instrument of prayer, stressing the universal character of the Mass.
The pilgrimage is organised in a dynamic spirit, as a reaction to the materialism of our times. We place ourselves within the traditional doctrine taught by the Church. Wishing to work for the Social Reign of Our Lord, we want our Faith to overflow into our personal lives, our family lives, our working lives, and into the very life of our country. Following Huysmans, Psichari, Peguy and other illustrious converts, the Chartres pilgrims walk for Christendom, "that sunny side of a civilisation where the Kingship of Christ spreads over the lives and works of men, over the families and over the nations, searching obstinately amidst the cultures and earthly battles, for an uncompromising balance between nature and grace, wishing, by heroism and holiness, to trace already on earth the avenues of the Kingdom."
A call to conversion, a public act of reparation to the Sacred Heart, this pilgrimage is a homage to Christ the King and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The pilgrims walk in ‘chapters’. The Chapter of Our Lady of Walsingham (all ages) is led by Francis Carey and Jamie Bogle. The Chaplains, Fr Edwards and Fr Byrne, will accompany us all along the walk, hearing confessions, providing meditations, prayers and teaching the Catholic Faith. Our Juventutem (Youth) Chapter is under the patronage of Saint Alban. This is led by Andrew Plasom-Scott and the Juventutem Chaplains are Frs. Withoos and Redman.
This is the final theme on the three year programme dealing with the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, after our themes meditating on God the Father and on Jesus Christ, we now meditate upon the third Person of the Holy Trinity. As the Pilgrimage is always at Pentecost, this is a very fitting theme indeed. For the Saturday, our Patroness is St Catherine of Siena and our subtheme is “The Holy Ghost, Spirit of Holiness”; for Pentecost Sunday, our Patron is St Pius X and our subtheme is “The Holy Ghost and His gifts for the Church”; and on Pentecost Monday, under the Patronage of the Martyrs for the Holy Name of Jesus, we meditate on “The Holy Ghost, Soul of the Mission”.
It is highly recommended that pilgrims consecrate (or reconsecrate) themselves totally to Our Lady after the manner of St Louis de Montfort at the campsite at Gas before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on Pentecost. The preparation for this takes 33 days and, therefore, you should start this on 11 April 2016 (to finish on the day we leave England for the Pilgrimage). Previous pilgrims wishing to renew their Consecration should start on 23 April 2016, the Feast of St. George. Further details can be found on the Website.
Notre-Dame de Chrétienté supplies bread and water at lunch throughout the walk and at the evening campsite. At the campsite, hot soup is available in the evenings and a very basic breakfast (coffee, hot chocolate and bread and jam) is available in the mornings. Pilgrims should, however, bring with them their own food, enough for three cold picnic lunches and to supplement the evening soup and morning breakfast. These should be organised in England as there are very limited opportunities to buy anything during the pilgrimage.
Permanent medical assistance is assured by the doctors and hospitallers of the Order of Malta, who have an outdoor hospital at each campsite.
At each halt, shuttle buses provide transport for pilgrims who can no longer walk or, in case of emergency, to take them to hospital.
During the pilgrimage it is important to look after one's feet as walking with blisters is not a lot of fun. Along with the usual precautions of wearing good walking boots (well worn-in) and wool or cotton socks (not synthetic), experienced walkers have found that the application of "Elastoplaste", a very sticky medical tape available in French chemists (there is one near our Paris hotel), to the sole and heel of the foot results in no blisters! It costs about £5 for a box, but is well worth the investment. A foot/hand cream is also recommended. While the services of the Order of Malta are always available en-route and at the campsites, they are no longer there to treat blisters and other minor injuries.
Clothing for walking, particularly boots or good walking shoes (synthetic fibre socks are not advised). Here is the list of essentials:
a small backpack to carry throughout, containing :
· Food: lunch for the day and energy-giving snacks (dried fruit, salty nuts, etc.). Tins of tuna salad, cheese, salami, glucose tablets etc.
· Waterproof raingear (heavy rain possible!)
· water bottle (water supplied) and knife/fork/spoon
· cup for tea/coffee/soup (contents supplied, bring tea bags if tea required)
· hat, to protect against the sun (and sun cream)
· Pilgrim’s Booklet (supplied, containing all the Mass texts, hymns, and other prayers)
· Small plastic bag/cover for Pilgrim’s Booklet
· plasters and general simple medication (for blisters, headaches, dehydration etc.)
a larger bag, which will be taken in the special pilgrimage lorries and which is retrieved each evening, containing :
· food reserves (for remaining meals)
· warm jumper/garment (cold early mornings)
· change of clothing (a pullover, shirts, trousers, pants, vests, socks)
· light shoes for the evening (good boots recommended for the walk)
· toiletries and toilet paper (not essential)
· warm sleeping bag
· personal tent (if you have one) or Groundsheet and mat (for collective tents)
(When packing your luggage, make sure that that you line it with a plastic bag. Luggage is left in the open at the campsite and, if it rains, clothes may get wet. Especially, make sure that your sleeping bag is in a waterproof bag.)
Friday, 13 May 2016
07:00 Mass in Westminster Cathedral Crypt (Ambrosden Avenue)
07:30 Coaches pick up outside Cathedral
11:10 Coach boards ferry at Dover
18:00 Coach arrives at Hotel near Paris
Saturday, 14 May 2016 (Vigil of Pentecost)
05:30 Coach to Notre Dame Cathedral
07:00 Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
08:30(est.) Leave Notre Dame towards Chartres
13:30 Lunch at Bièvres (les Damoiseaux)
20:00 Arrive at Ferté-Choisel for dinner and bed (“Veillée amicale” at 21:00)
Sunday, 15 May 2016 (Pentecost Sunday)
06:15 Prayers of Departure
07:00 First Chapters leave Campsite
13:00 Solemn Mass of Pentecost & Lunch at Sonchamps (les Courlis)
20:00 Arrive at Gas Campsite
21:00 Benediction, Consecration to Our Lady and All Night Exposition
Monday, 16 May 2016 (Pentecost Monday)
06:30 Load Luggage onto London Coach or Lorry at Campsite at Gas
07:00 Leave Gas for Chartres
10:30 Lunch at Gasville-Oisème
15:30 Solemn Mass in Chartres Cathedral
20:00 Dinner in Chartres
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 (Pentecost Tuesday)
10:00 Mass in Chartres Cathedral Crypt—Notre Dame de Sous Terre
12:00 Depart Chartres by coach for London
18:20 Board Eurotunnel (not Eurostar!)
20:00 Arrive London Victoria Railway Station
1. Live the spirituality of the pilgrimage in your chapter
2. Welcome and support new and lone pilgrims
3. March to the end of each stage, unless unable to do so for serious reasons
4. Adopt appropriate dress and behaviour, in conformity with the pilgrim spirit: immodest clothing is prohibited, especially dresses which are too short, cropped tops, paramilitary paraphernalia. The use of drugs is strictly forbidden. Alcohol and tobacco use should be discrete and moderate. Young people will be particularly supervised in this regard.
5. Respect silence when it is requested. Mobile phones and electronic devised are not to be used while walking, except in an emergency.
6. Avoid wasting any food or drink, and help to maintain cleanliness; it is a basic responsibility not to drop litter of any sort
7. Help the logistics teams when asked, and respect their instructions (in particular, pitching tents in the appropriate marked spaces).
The organisers reserve the right to exclude from the pilgrimage any person who does not respect these instructions or who refuses to followthem.
The Registration Form should be completed and returned with a deposit of £50 per person to reserve your place. Payment in full by 25 March 2016, please.