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Pilgrimage Follows Steps Of Francis Of Assisi

Pilgrimage Follows Steps Of Francis Of Assisi And Early Celtic Christians

When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church he chose Francis as his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Pope Francis was drawn to the legendary 13th century Saint because of his own humility, concern for the poor, love of the environment and discomfort with some of the ornate trappings of the church.

Now just over 800 years later Pilgrimage Leaders, Revd John Hornblow and Dr Jenny Boyack from Palmerston North, believe it’s time to reflect on the remarkable life of St Francis and visit the sites in Italy where he lived and worked.

John and Jenny are leading a 26 day House of Travel pilgrimage to follow the steps of St Francis and also explore the significant sites of ancient Celtic Christianity. The pilgrimage from April 15 to May 10, 2017, organised by Stephen Parsons House of Travel, takes in Umbria, Rome, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. It is limited to 20 people.

“St Francis was one of the great change agents in the world of his day and we see Pope Francis emulating that through his engagement in social issues such as poverty, refugees, marginalised people, reforming the church, his care for creation and bringing a new sense of ethics into the world,” John Hornblow says.

“St Francis is highly regarded as one of the foremost leaders of Christendom in its 2,000 year history.”

Highlights of the Italian section of the pilgrimage include the Easter Sunday celebrations in Assisi on April 16, a visit to the tranquil forested Carceri/Hermitage where Francis retreated to commune with God, and time in the village of Greccio where he created the first nativity scene.

In recent years there’s been a resurgence of interest in early Celtic Christianity and the people whose ministries and mission still influence the wider Christian Church in the 21st century, spiritual leaders such St David, St Patrick, St Columba and St Cuthbert among others.

The second half of the pilgrimage involves travel to significant sites in the British Isles and Ireland. Particular highlights will be a visit to St Martin’s Church, the oldest in the English speaking world, the opportunity to participate in a choral workshop with the Canterbury Cathedral’s Director of Music, a day on the island of Iona and a visit to Lindisfarne, the Holy Island.

John and Jenny, who have led pilgrimages within New Zealand and overseas, highly recommend the pilgrimage experience as a way to engage reflectively with places and people who have shaped the past and the present.

“Such a journey helps people to understand themselves, the world, their place in it and where it’s going,” they say.

Bookings for the pilgrimage are available from Stephen Parsons House of Travel through to the end of September or until sold.


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