Monday, 16 November 2009

This year, next year

So, it's now officially out - our 2010 pilgrimage is to Krakow in Poland, and will be entitled "In the Footsteps of Pope John Paul II". We made the announcement at the reunion of our 2009 Holy Land pilgrims this evening at Christ the King Hall. After dabbling with Bavaria and Salzburg (too busy with the Oberammergau Passion Play) and Belgium, Billy and Rita and I decided two or three weeks ago to go back to a plan we had 10 years ago, when flights etc to Poland were not as developed as now. Our current idea is to fly to Krakow 6th September, where we'll be based for seven nights. We'll visit the shrines of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Czestochowa, make trips to beautiful Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains and to Auschwitz with its shrine to St Maximilian Kolbe, and go down the famous salt mines at Wielicka. And, of course we'll celebrate Mass everywhere - including down the mine! We seem to have got a superb hotel, very modern and very convenient both for the historic centre of Krakow - and for the biggest shopping centre in this fine old city.
Anyway, no doubt I'll be posting more about pilgrimage 2010 during coming months. This evening, after making my pitch on Krakow to this year's pilgrims, who get first choice for 2010, we then had a real treat. Bernard, one of this year's pilgrims, has made an absolutely superb DVD of the trip. It is beautifully edited with soundtrack and captions, and lasts about 90 minutes. It brought back so many wonderful memories to me and the others. I don't usually like watching myself, but seeing this I was able to thank God again for the whole pilgrimage and, personally, for the inspiration He kindly gave to me. A dozen of us stayed to watch the DVD all the way through, and I detected a few tears in the audience as we remembered what for me was, I think, one of very our best pilgrimages.... Bernard and I have decided we will have a "public" showing of the DVD on Sunday 6th December at 7.30pm at St Brigid's Hall. A beautiful evening.
Pictures show Our Lady of Czestochowa, the "Black Madonna" and patroness of Poland, and me elevating the chalice during Mass at the church of Dominus Flevit, marking the spot where the Lord Wept over Jerusalem.

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