Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tasmanian Pilgrimage

A small group of friends and I spent the weekend on a Lenten pilgrimage: on Saturday, we walked from St Joseph's Church in Hobart to St John's Church in Richmond (25 km); and on Sunday, another 28 km to St Patrick's Church, Colebrook. The three churches mentioned are all historic: St Joseph's, built 1841, was Hobart's original pro-cathedral; St John the Evangelist's, built 1837, is the oldest extant Catholic church in Australia; and St Patrick's, Colebrook, built 1857, is a perfect Pugin design.

Shelstone Saddle (our Saturday lunch stop) with Hobart in the distance

His Grace condescended to join us for the last hour of the walk into Richmond, and proceeded to celebrate Mass for us in the Ordinary Form; Hugh and Tony sang the Gregorian propers, just as they did the next day at Colebrook, where Fr Suresh sang a Missa cantata. En route, from time to time we said the Rosary (ten decades each day), sang hymns, conversed and enjoyed the pleasant weather and  scenery.

Simon and Lyle took turns in driving our support vehicle, which kept us supplied with water, plus food and drink for lunch, morning and afternoon tea. The pilgrimage could not have happened without the kind permission of the local parish priest, nor the support of other friends of mine who assisted us. David, who joined our band on the Sunday, lives locally, and helped plan the route.

A little before lunch on Sunday, with Gravelly Ridge to climb afterwards

It was a pity that a few others were unable to attend in the event, but c'est la vie. I must say that such a generous dose of unaccustomed fresh air, sunshine and exercise all agreed with me, and I cannot wait to strike out cross-country again. Being a Catholic affair, we quenched our hard-earned thirst and enjoyed a pleasant dinner together in a local pub each evening.

Colebrook was originally named Jerusalem, and so our little venture bore a somewhat grandiose title: a Lenten Pilgrimage to Tasmania's Jerusalem. All pilgrimages, large and small, are images of the progress of each Christian, and of the whole Church, through the desert of this world to the supernal City of God. As St Louis IX said as he lay dying, "We will go to Jerusalem".

St Patrick's Church, Colebrook


AndrewWS said...

St Patrick's looks a lovely church, one that hasn't been ruined.

This sort of pilgrimage strikes me as a marvellous exercise (in more than one sense of the word!) and I hope you've started a trend.

Joshua said...

It has been lovingly restored by the Pugin Foundation, after being in danger of closure some years ago. Mass is only said at St Patrick's twice a year.

Lyle Dunne said...

Thank you for putting such a positive gloss on my motivations for sharing the driving! - as well as, of course, for organising the whole thing, which was glorious. The Churches were delightful - thank God for the Pugin Society.

God Willing, I'll see you "next year in Jerusalem", when I hope to be in better shape!


Anne B said...

Sadly, on my several visits I found, of these three, only the lovely St John's. "The Master is here and calleth for thee."