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Champagnat Pilgrimage 2005

23/05/2005: Australia

On the 2nd April 2005 twenty-five pilgrims boarded their first of many flights to commence the 2005 Champagnat Pilgrimage, the third biennial pilgrimage organised for school leaders, staff and friends of the Province of Melbourne. Included in the group were four Marist Brothers and the four newly appointed principals of Marist Schools in the Province.
After a brief stop at Singapore and London, the pilgrims landed in Paris and took the TGV to Lyons and bus to the Hermitage. There, Brothers Gabriel Michel and Alain Delorme shared with the group their comprehensive and passionate love of Marcellin Champagnat. Five days later, the pilgrims journeyed to Paris to walk in Marcellin’s footsteps as he strove to gain authorisation for his fledgling organisation and, at the same time, imbibed the rich Marial spirituality of the environs.
Monday 11th April saw the pilgrims travelling to Rome at that special time in history as the cardinals gathered to elect a new Pope. Brothers Sean Sammon and Jude Pieterse spoke at length with the group about future directions for the Congregation and recent Marist experiences in Africa.
Each Champagnat Pilgrimage takes in the richness of a developing country, experiences that immerse the pilgrims, ever so briefly, in the lives of the poor. This time the group travelled to Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Santiago in Chile. There, Marist hospitality and warmth abounded once again as pilgrims witnessed the juxtaposition of large favellas alongside wealthy neighbourhoods and saw vibrant Marist boarding and day schools run specifically for the very poor.
As the group of tired pilgrims flew into Melbourne on the 23rd April, it was clear the experience had greatly enriched all their lives, exposed them to exceptional Marist hospitality and given them a deeper affection for all things Marist.

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