Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting Ready for Christus Rex

Soon enough I'll be off on the 21st annual Peregrinatio Christi Regis (Christus Rex Pilgrimage) from Ballarat to Bendigo, from the cathedral of one to that of the other – in exactly five weeks, to be precise, since I will fly over to Melbourne on Thursday the 27th prox., in order to get to Ballarat very early the next morning (staying the night as a guest at a priest friend's residence en route).

I'd best start walking further each day!  (Last year, I just about killed myself by ludicrously insisting on walking the whole of Friday, despite being quite unprepared, to the extent that I honestly felt like crawling into a ditch to die that evening...)

To-day, I've registered, bought the plane tickets, and booked accommodation in Bendigo for the Sunday night, setting me back about $630 all told... plus whatever I've lost through taking two days off work without pay.  I suppose that's quite reasonable for a long weekend away, from Thursday night to Monday afternoon.  (The pilgrimage officially ends with Mass of Christ the King on Sunday afternoon, but unofficially there follows dinner that night, then another High Mass the next morning before brunch and a bus trip back to Melbourne airport.)

I must say, I don't like camping at all, though I don't mind walking (if prepared), so having to sleep in a tent two nights running is a most unwelcome prospect (no offence intended to those who kindly let me share their spacious structure: it just isn't my idea of fun).  However, a pilgrimage should involve penance, so that seems fair, though hard.

As is to be expected, I mused to-day about whether the 113 km Ballarat to Bendigo is the shortest distance between Catholic cathedrals in Australia: of course, it's not, since Sydney (including Wollongong to the south) has seven Catholic cathedrals within that range (including the Melkite, Maronite and Chaldean ones), but it would not be as pleasant marching to and fro through the suburbs as it is to peregrinate through country Victoria.

In any case, I hope one day to do that ancient pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella through northern Spain – as did some friends of mine in Hobart, who were 67 and 73 when they did it!

It is a very pleasant thing really, to go on pilgrimage.

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