Friday, 9 January 2009

More information about Chartres

(reproduced from "Young Catholic Adults", the Juventutem Chapter in England)

Paris-Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage in France (30 May-1st June 2009):

Juventutem Chapter

The Youth of Britain marched last year under the banner of Juventutem. Fr Withoos, Madeleine Readings and Gregory Flash inspired the enthusiastic youngsters on the muddy road to Chartres. Banners and flags flying, singing hymns and songs with gusto, the miles flew by. It was reassuring to witness their laughter and perseverance as they waded through inches of mud and water. To build on this success and to cater separately for the broad age range of young people, another chapter is planned this year for those aged 13-18 to be led by Agostino di Falco and Anthony Readings in addition to the main Juventutem chapter for 18 to 30 year olds. This is now a very important part of our apostolate and we ask for both your prayers and financial support.

For more information please contact:-

Francis & Julie Carey

Tel: 01494 729 223 e-mail -


Gregory Flash -International Juventutem Chairman writes about the Juventutem chapter:-

Celebrate Pentecost with a pilgrimage!

I would like invite you to join me and several thousand other young people on a pilgrimage in France at Pentecost this year.

What is the pilgrimage?

The pilgrimage involves walking from Paris to Chartres, along part of one of the ancient routes to Compostella. This particular pilgrimage, the largest of the annual pilgrimages that takes this route, is now in its 26th year, so it is a well-oiled and efficient machine. By the end of the pilgrimage, some six thousand people come together in and outside the glorious cathedral in Chartres for a solemn Mass. The average age of the pilgrims is somewhere in the low twenties, as the vast majority of the pilgrims are young, though people of all ages are welcome.

Who will be going?

I invite you to walk with the British young adults' chapter, dedicated to St Alban, which will be made up of 18-35 year olds. All the pilgrims in this chapter will be English speaking, with the majority coming from the UK, though there we hope to welcome pilgrims from other countries too. We will have English speaking priests looking after us, giving talks, hearing confessions and leading the prayers. There will also be lots of opportunities to get to know pilgrims of other ages and other nationalities.

The majority of the pilgrims are French, but there are chapters from the USA, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Lithuania and other countries besides. The three Masses of the pilgrimage are celebrated in Latin (booklets are provided to help you follow the prayers), which enables this wonderfully diverse group of nationalities to pray and sing with one voice. We walk in chapters of about thirty pilgrims, singing and praying (in English mostly though there will be plenty of opportunity to learn and sing in other languages over the two and half days), listening to talks to from priests and chapter leaders, and getting to know one another. There is plenty of laughter and joy as well as prayer and hard work.

How exactly does the pilgrimage work?

On Saturday 10 May, we all meet at 6am at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The pilgrims enter the great Cathedral, where prayers are said and the pilgrims are blessed by the clergy. We then begin walking our way out of Paris, walking with the rest of our chapter. Half way through the morning, we have a short pause for water and some fruit, before making our way to one of the forests that surrounds Paris for Mass of the vigil of Pentecost in the open air. A picnic lunch follows, and we resume our walk until the evening (with a few pauses on the way), until we reach a camp site outside a beautiful village. We spend the night under tents (for details of sleeping arrangements see below). Early the next morning, we set off again. Mass of Pentecost Sunday is said again the open air, before another early picnic lunch. We walk until the evening (again with pauses), spending the second night in a campsite not far from Chartres. An hour before reaching the campsite we should catch our first distant glimpse of the spires of Chartres cathedral towering above the fields that surround the city.

The following morning we set off for Chartres. We have our final picnic lunch before arriving in Chartres in the early afternoon. At half past three the final solemn Mass of the pilgrimage begins, said in the presence of the bishop of Chartres. I don't yet have details of the celebrant for this year, but over the past twenty five years, bishops and Cardinals have celebrated this closing Mass.

What do I need to bring?

You need the following:

  • Good walking shoes
  • Sleeping bag
  • Optional tent - as non-French pilgrims you can sleep in communal tents that are provided for the international pilgrims, though you are free to bring your own tent (this is the option I take, and which is arguably preferable to the communal option).
  • Food for lunch on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. You should also bring food to supplement the evening soup.
  • Clothing suitable for two and a half days of walking in the open air - you will need a good set of waterproofs. Last year we had a lot of rain, but the previous year we had unmitigated sunshine. Pentecost is early this year, so you should also bring a couple of jumpers/warm clothes.
  • Two rucksacks - one large, which will hold your sleeping bag, tent if you take one, and any bulkier items, and a smaller one. The larger bag will be transported from Paris to the campsites and then to Chartres. The smaller bag will contain what you need to walk during the day, i.e. your lunch, raincoat, jumpers etc.

How fit do I need to be?

The pilgrimage involves a heavy amount of walking. You therefore need to be reasonably physically fit in order to cope with walking 100km in two and half days. It is gruelling and hard work, but it is not a death march!

Gregory Flash FIJ Chairman.

How do I book?

Francis and Julie Carey run a very successful and reasonably priced package (highly recommended!) for the pilgrimage with coaches, hotels and ferries all included, to book please email for further details, or ring 01494 729 223.

Please contact Gregory Flash at for this option.

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