I am severely underqualified to write about Christus Rex - after all, there are those like Fr Tattersall et al. who have been involved since the beginning, nineteen years ago; and this year, I have just calculated, I scarcely walked half of it (about 45km as opposed to the full 91 or so).
I do look forward to doing the whole thing next year!
But as Simon, our Tasmanian organizer, tent-provider and old mate of mine put it, the Christus Rex Pilgrimage is unique in that it incorporates four features:
- it is a pilgrimage, having been inspired by and based on the Paris to Chartres Pilgrimage;
- it is a camping trip, in the great Aussie tradition thereof;
- it is a retreat, with Holy Masses, Confessions, Office, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosaries, hymns and prayers, sermons and homilies;
- it is a networking exercise, when Traddies old and new get together to exchange confidences and support each other.
Only in Australia would the pilgrims compete each year for the hill run (Fr Rowe was champion - of the children's race!), or repair to the local pub each night...
One good thing to note was how much the effects of WYD were in evidence: many, many young people, with WYD backpacks and other obvious paraphernalia from that great jamboree in Sydney with Pope Benedict.
For the record, the full route features about ninety kilometres of walking (over thirty on the Friday and Saturday, and about twenty-six on the Sunday, since the Pilgrimage reaches Bendigo mid-afternoon). The actual distance from Ballarat to Bendigo is 114 km, but it is impractical to spread the walk over four days, so a section of 26 km is bussed.