Pilgrimage Renews and Rejuvenates – Harvest Journeys
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Pilgrimage Renews and Rejuvenates

Photo: Br Michael Green FMS and Tony Clarke with the Marist Pilgrimage Group, Sea of Galilee.

22 MAY 2024

For more than two decades, the Marists have been running an annual overseas pilgrimage to help their members grow in their Marist identity and purpose, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus and a sense of church. They have traditionally begun in the Holy Land, then to Rome, and concluded in France at the founding places of the Marists, however, due to the war in Israel, this year replaced the Holy Land with the lands of St Paul and St John in Greece and Turkey. 

The pilgrims comprise those connected to and working in Marist ministries, primarily in schools (principals, teachers, ancillary staff, board members), along with Marist religious and clergy.

Br Michael Green FMS, Marist scholar and historian, explains that travelling on pilgrimage together as a community affirms in them a sense of ownership and co-responsibility for Marist spirituality and mission. 

“Of all the formation programs that we Marists offer, the Marist Pilgrimage has been the most fruitful and its effects the most long-lasting … It is an intense experience – spiritually, communally, and intellectually.” 

“Almost everyone on a Marist pilgrimage will seek to join the Marist Association of St Marcellin,” said Br Michael. 

Tony Clarke, Director of Marist Mission and Life Formation emphasises the importance of community on pilgrimage.  

Photo: Br Michael Green giving a talk at the Synagogue-Church, Nazareth.

“We begin with a group of 30 people who initially don’t know each other and travel to places where they have never been, where they will be sharing buses, planes, meals, and their lives… they live together for 21 days as a Marist community.  This has an incredible power…,”  he says. 

After leading many pilgrimages, Tony is convinced of the transformative power of pilgrimage, which can rejuvenate our lives and faith. 

“It’s about a journey of the heart, a journey that opens a way to deepening our relationship with Jesus.”  

Visiting the holy places of the Marist story is key to embracing the spirituality of St Marcellin Champagnat and being renewed in the Marist charism. Tony explains the group of pilgrims visit the cradle of the Marist Institute in France and spend time in the holy places of the Marist story. 

“Pilgrims are invited to discover the richness of the spiritual tradition and how it invites us into a deeper reflection on our way of living Christian discipleship in a Marian way.” 

The Marists have partnered with Harvest Journeys to provide the travel arrangements for their pilgrimages each year. 

Photo: Br Michael Green (left), pilgrimage chaplain and pilgrim.

“Harvest has been a highly valued pilgrimage partner, especially through their expertise and knowledge of the Holy Land, and their thoroughness and care of people. They can’t do enough for the organisers and for individual pilgrims.  They are a whole lot more than just a highly professional travel company. To have a pilgrimage specialist as a partner, means that it is easier to deliver a set of experiences that serve the goals of a genuine pilgrimage.” 

The Marists are now working to plan their pilgrimage for the Jubilee Holy Year in 2025.

This article first appeared in Pathways, a publication of Catholic Religious Australia – https://www.catholicreligious.org.au/news/pilgrimage-renews-and-rejuvenates

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