Pilgrimage an opportunity for personal reflection

By Veronika Cox

Surrounded by the beauty of the Tasmanian landscape, 38 young people journeyed together and slept under the stars as they took part in the St Patrick’s Pilgrimage last month.

The annual pilgrimage, which this year ran over the weekend of 19-20 March, winds 41km from St John’s Catholic Church in Richmond to St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Colebrook.

Pastoral Support Officer for the Archdiocese of Hobart, Ella Tobin, said the pilgrimage offered young adults the opportunity for personal reflection and prayer.

“It is also a great way to meet other local youth and forge new friendships,” she said.

“The atmosphere was very joyful. Everyone was willing to give a hand when needed.”

For Edwina Matuszek, 23, it was her third experience of the pilgrimage.

“To gather as Catholics and pilgrimage together is a good reminder that we are journeying together towards God,” she explained.

“It is nice to have those moments of really putting your mind towards God and using those few days to walk together as one on pilgrimage.”

Edwina said the pilgrimage provided a welcome opportunity for reflection.

“When you are walking in the midst of nature you don’t have any distractions and you can really ponder on things,” she said.

“It is great physical exercise, but also very mindful.”

Charlotte Davies, 18, attended the pilgrimage for the first time this year.

The MacKillop Catholic College youth minister joined to meet people in similar roles and support students.

“I don’t know many people that are quite religious at my age, so it was nice to see people on the same wavelength as me,” she said.

“It was quite the challenge, and it was really interesting to experience the physical form of being actively spiritual.”

Miss Tobin said the highlight of the pilgrimage was the celebration of Mass at the Notre Dame Priory.

“The second day was particularly challenging, and by the end of the walk, there were many sore feet and exhausted pilgrims,” she said.

“The final Mass brought everything back in perspective, why we were journeying. It was beautiful seeing all the pilgrims gathered together in the chapel – a perfect way to complete the pilgrimage.”

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