And so the SSPX's 2013 Youth Pilgrimage sponsored by the USA District Office begins.
And so it begins...
The 2013 Youth Pilgrimage is under way and as usual we hope that you will follow us on sspx.org as twenty-five of our youth visit some of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Europe.
If we were to say that the youth have come with the holiest indifference to only make a devotional pilgrimage, we would be lying. The fact is that readying themselves for the overseas plane ride, which for many is a first, the youngsters are extremely excited to see the different culture of Europe and immerse themselves in the unknown. However, as happens with so many new things, they will learn what a pilgrimage really is as they go along. The fatigue, the lugging of bags on and off buses and the unfamiliar surroundings and languages will be tied in with a religious act and this will mark them with a sense of sacrifice as they could not do on their own. It will be a little walk in the footsteps of St. Joseph who was obliged to go into a foreign land and had to deal with hardships and fatigue.
Our youngsters are very grateful to all of the benefactors who have made this trip possible for many of them. Because of their generosity, this year’s pilgrims will visit the fines terrae, the ends of the earth, as the Iberian peninsula was known to the ancients. Our group of Americans and one Aussie will start in Portugal, visiting the cathedral of Lisbon and the birthplace of St. Anthony of Padua, the Wonder-worker, who has helped every single Catholic out of that temporary dementia we call forgetfulness. From there we will go to Fatima, just before the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady on May 13. Portugal will also show us a Eucharistic miracle at Santarem and some beautiful architecture at Braga where we will also make the stations of the cross.
The trip will then enter into Spain and visit wonderful relics at Oviedo, such as the sudarium that wrapped the sacred face of Jesus in death. From there it is eastward bound to Santiago de Compostela to visit the third most visited pilgrimage destination of the Middle Ages after the Holy Land and Rome. But Spain was not always Catholic and that is why we will visit the beginning point of the Spanish Reconquista at Covadonga where Our Lady promised victory to the Asturian general Pelayo over the Muslim invasion of the peninsula. Another soldier’s story will be told to the pilgrims at Loyola where St. Ignatius left the army of man for that of God. We will be able to see the room where the grace of God seeped into his soul through good spiritual reading and turned him into a much-needed apostle, who still helps us today with the retreats called Ignatian.
Finally, we will enter France through the Pyrenees and “lift up our eyes to the mountains whence comes help to us” as the Psalms say. In southern France we will arrive at Lourdes and spend a whole day at one of the most miraculous shrines of modern times. From there we will finish, as we have done every year with a visit to Chartres and the three-day walking pilgrimage with thousands of SSPX faithful to Paris.
Please pray for our safe travels and hopefully you can follow us and learn a little bit too about your Catholic heritage.
day 1 >