Monday, 20 February 2012

Chartres sonne, Chartres t'appelle...

It is time to start planning for this year's Chartres pilgrimage, at Pentecost.  The kids are busy trying to extract exam timetables from school and University to see which of them will be blessed with the possibility of going this year.  I have already opened negotiations with Mrs T. for my exeat.

For those who have never been, it is hard to describe the wonder of the event.  We start from Notre Dame de Paris early on Saturday morning, walk through the day, through sunshine or rain (normally lots of one or the other), stopping for a lunchtime Mass (EF) in the woods, and covering around 30 miles.

On the way we sing, pray, say the rosary, have our confessions heard, listen to meditations, and have convivial Catholic chat.  We camp overnight, and then repeat the same schedule the next day, with a magnificent outdoors Pentecost Mass (EF) at a temporary (but duly resplendent) altar in an open field.

On the final day, we walk the remaining miles to Chartres, process into the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres (if we are lucky) or onto the square outside for the final Mass (EF - you get the picture).

Notre Dame de Chartres is one of the architectural wonders of Christendom: the 13th century glass alone is worth the walk; and of course it is home to Our Lady's shawl, the Sancta Camisa.

Thousands (I can't remember how many thousands, but a very impressive number) do the pilgrimage; mainly young French people, but a large number from all around Christendom, including British Chapters and American ones - so not speaking French is no excuse!

The walking is tough, but the blessings are abundant.  You will find a further description here , and more if you follow my tag 'Chartres;' and more information and photos, and how to book, here.  If you join us, you will be made very welcome, and despite your blisters, exhaustion and limp, will be keen to come again... and again...

Oh, you will also learn some wonderful French hymns, such as Chez nous, and Chartres sonne, Chartres t'appelle.

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