Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chartres pilgrims

~from Times Online. The article begins with the usual template...religion dying among youth...priest with back to people...blah, blah...but the article got better once you waded through the obligatory potshots. I think the editor thought the article too sympathetic so added the lamestream partylines...
This weekend’s annual three-day pilgrimage through northern France, which is in its 26th year, illustrates the appeal that the Tridentine Mass has for some young Catholics disenchanted with what they say is the lack of mystery, beauty and sacredness in the revised Mass.

Gregory Flash, 28, an investment banker from London, explains why he is taking part in the pilgrimage for the second year running: “The pilgrimage is a time of prayer, penance and fellowship. It’s great to be surrounded by thousands of Catholics around the same age who, despite their different nationalities, can sing and pray in the same language and in the same way.”

The pilgrims come from several countries, including Poland, Germany, Italy and the US, and include seminarians. Some bishops and even cardinals have joined them in previous years.

They begin their pilgrimage at 6am on Saturday at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where a priest will bless them. Carrying banners and flags, they then snake their way through the south-western suburbs of the city and out into the countryside.

“At mid-morning we attend the first Mass of the pilgrimage. A priest sets up an altar in a forest and will celebrate a full sung Mass with a choir singing Gregorian chant,” Mr Flash says.

The pilgrims follow part of one of the ancient routes to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. They walk in small groups. Some sing the rosary in Latin; others make their confession to one of the traditionalist priests who accompany them. On Saturday and Sunday nights they camp in fields.

“When we arrive at Chartres Cathedral, the local bishop usually greets us. We then have a solemn Mass. Those who can’t fit inside watch it on TV screens outside. Priests hear confessions in the side chapels or on plastic chairs in the cathedral square.”

Grace Readings, 23, who works as a PA to an MP, will be making her 13th pilgrimage. She first went as a pupil at St Michael’s School in Berkshire, which is run by the Society of St Pius X, a breakaway traditionalist group which the Pope is trying to lure back to Rome....[lure? oh, the editor's voice again, I see]

...John Medlin, of the Latin Mass Society, reckons that about 20 per cent of those attending traditional-rite Masses are young or have young families. “When young people who have had no prior experience of the traditional rite come along to one of our Masses only a handful go away thinking well, I found that pretty off-putting. Some think, fair enough, but not a lot happened for me. But a surprisingly large number go away thinking, I’ve just come into contact with Catholic worship for the first time. I really felt something objective was going on.”
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