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A world of pilgrimage awaits at home and abroad

This week’s editorial leader

It has been a Scottish Summer of Pilgrimage. As they do each year, groups have departed the Scottish dioceses and travelled south to Lourdes. The young helping the poorly. Archbishop Leo Cushley’s funeral homily for Fr Macdonald spoke movingly of the incredible gratitude the dying priest felt at visiting Lourdes before the end.

Of course then there were the hundreds of young Scottish Catholics who went to Krakow for World Youth Day. The sheer power of that event continues to be felt and is powerfully captured by Mairi Hughes in her piece about her pilgrimage to Poland. A moving letter this week tells of how there was tremendous generosity from the local people for Scottish pilgrims who had become stranded walking back from the final Mass.

And as they do every year, Scottish pilgrims walked the Way of St James in Spain, among them a parish group from St Augustine’s in Coatbridge.

All of those voyagers have spoken of the tremendous spiritual enrichment they felt from these journeys, how there difficultly make them all the more rewarding, and moved them closer to God.

No wonder Pope Francis said earlier this year that pilgrimage to shrines is ‘the most eloquent expression of the faith of God’s people.’

So the intention to create a ‘Caledonian Camino,’ a cross-country walking route for Scottish pilgrims, is one we should all support. This is a wonderful idea.

Walking between those ancient centres of medieval Christianity, Iona and St Andrews will be a celebration of the ancient Christian Faith of this Country. Walking the 200 miles of hill and glen will also inevitably be a celebration of the outstanding beauty of God’s creation.

The Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum deserves the sturdy support of Scottish Catholics. The good news is that one way to do this, is to just start walking the routes. The more they’re used, the faster this plan will become reality. So get the hiking boots out and head for the hills, a world of pilgrimage awaits!

Chris O’Hare is an unusual young man. A World Class athlete, but also a young Scot who is absolutely open and upfront about his Faith and how important it is to him. It is worth reflecting on the fact that he has said he only really became truly dedicated to his Faith after he went to America. We would do well to think about how we can emulate those techniques for inspiring young people here. In any case, everyone at the SCO will be cheering for Chris when he runs the 1500m at the Rio Olympics this Tuesday.



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