Local and global pilgrimages kick off 2023

By Josh Low

Eighty pilgrims walked more than 30 kilometres over two days through the Huon Valley last month as part of the Way to St James Cygnet pilgrimage.

Held on 14 and 15 January, the 2023 pilgrimage saw pilgrims walk through Mountain River, Ranelagh and Cradoc on their way to Cygnet.

Upon their arrival in Cygnet, pilgrims processed through the streets with an icon of St James to the Church of St James.

Pilgrims processing through Cygnet with the icon of St James. Photo: Supplied

Greeting them at the Church was pilgrimage founder, Fr Michael Tate, who addressed the group, sharing some reflections on what the pilgrims had experienced.

Reflecting on Psalm 148, Fr Tate added that all the elements of creation provided an opportunity to thank God to for their grandeur and beauty.

 “When you think of the scenery you have enjoyed over the last two days, no doubt you have at various stages, expressed a sense of awe or peace.

“As you made your way, your soul was being contoured by natural beauty,” he said.

“Here’s a further astounding truth: Each one of you is a dwelling place of divine beauty.”

Pilgrims walked more than 30 kilometres over two days through the Huon Valley on their way to Cygnet. Photo: Supplied

Return participant of the local pilgrimage, 17-year-old Ruby from Kingston-Channel Parish, said the pilgrimage was a great experience.

“Meeting new people and spending time together as a community – as pilgrims was a highlight.

“There was lots of fun and companionship and the walking itself was enjoyable.

“It was a good balance, it wasn’t too difficult but not too easy either,” she said.

Joining them in solidarity were more than 800 people from 47 countries, all walking in unison in a worldwide Global Camino.

Participants across Australia and internationally from countries such as the United States, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom and 10 participants from Ukraine walked where they lived around the world.

Pilgrims on the walk were joined by more than 800 participants from countries around the world, walking in their own cities. Photo: Supplied

This year even saw participants who had heard of the Global Camino and walked along virtually in the past, come to join in the Way to St James Cygnet in person.

Member of the organising committee, Leanne Prichard, said it was fantastic having such a huge number of people walking together in solidarity.

She added that the Way to St James is a great way to start the year.

“Many people come because they love the Camino and the spirit of the Camino,” she said.

“There was lots of sharing of their other Camino journeys and a lot of people asking each other questions about the other Caminos around the world.

“We hope it becomes something that’s a tradition for people at the beginning of the year, to step back from the busyness of life and to have some time for reflection, companionship and journey; a time to prepare themselves for the year ahead,” she concluded.

Tags: Archdiocese, Huon Valley, News, Southern Deanery