Pilgrims walk in faith to Colebrook

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Home > Media > News > Pilgrims walk in faith to Colebrook
Pilgrims walk in faith to Colebrook
Photo: Ben Hine

Young people who walked 40 kilometres from St John’s Church in Richmond to St Patrick’s Church in Colebrook in March have described the experience as a chance to get away from technology, be surrounded by others who will strengthen their faith, and as one of the best experiences of their lives.

Now in its third year, the annual Pilgrimage to St Patrick’s Colebrook attracted 48 pilgrims to two days of walking along roads and through paddocks, spending time praying, chatting and in silence with others on the same journey, including religious brothers, sisters, consecrated women, Fr Emmanuel Ibeke and Archbishop Julian.

At the halfway mark of the walk, the pilgrims camped overnight in tents and swags, finishing their day of walking with Eucharistic adoration under the stars.

Launceston medical student Nicole Chong, 25, says one of her highlights of the pilgrimage was the outdoor night-time Benediction, which was “wonderful” but cold.

“The thing I liked most though was just walking. I got to talk to a lot of different kinds of people, which was nice, getting to know different people. And the other thing that I really liked was just talking to God as I was walking, just reflecting on His words and spending time with Him.”

For 24-year-old Matt Hope of Richmond, the pilgrimage was a chance to continue the journey of faith he experienced at World Youth Day in Panama earlier this year.

“Events like this really help me to continue my journey and grow closer in my relationship with God,” he said.

Although he says you can “never be surrounded by enough people” who will support your faith journey, taking part in the pilgrimage has taught him the importance of being self-motivated when it comes to your faith.

“You don’t need to have people surrounding you to pray and grow in your relationship [with God]. It’s something you can do by yourself, whether it be in the car on the way to work, or just before you go to bed,” Matt said.

“And so I feel as though the fact that I can sacrifice a couple of days to come and do something like this, I can easily sacrifice 20 minutes during a normal day to pray the rosary,” he said.

Rejani Johnson, a 22-year-old international student who moved to Hobart several months ago, says that her experience was one of making friends, discovering the Church in Tasmania and receiving grace from God through the physical difficulties of the walk.

Rejani says she took her rosary beads and called on the Virgin Mary for help when continuing to walk was difficult.

“I [said]: ‘Please Virgin Mary, give me the strength to reach there!”

She had a powerful experience during Holy Communion at the final Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Colebrook – at the end of completing the 40 kilometre walk.

“After the Holy Communion when I came [back to my seat] and prayed; literally my eyes were filling with tears. I don’t know why I cried, but I felt so emotional. It was like an accomplishment in my life that I will never forget,” she said.

“This has been the best experience of my life.”