Neither the overcast sky nor the gusty wind dampened the enthusiasm of the pilgrims walking from Chartres to Paris. Come to “serve Christendom,” as encouraged by this year’s theme, there were 4,500 registered at the start, including 1,100 children.
In an invigorating sermon, Fr. Guillaume Gaud, Prior of Brest, urged the faithful to rebuild Christianity by having concern for the common good and esprit de corps—this mystical Body of Christ of which we are members through baptism. This involves fighting individualism, selfishness, dilettantism, all this curling in on oneself that makes one lose sight of the common good and the spirit of service.
Following Saint Bernard, the patron saint of this first day of pilgrimage, a Catholic must be a man of solid faith, without being paralyzed by the fear that annihilates the missionary radiance. Let us be intimately united to God, so as to be generous apostles.
And Fr. Gaud, who will be the director of the Saint-Curé d'Ars seminary in Flavigny this summer, launched a vibrant call for vocations.
At the end of Mass, during the blessing of banners from all regions and countries represented, the sun rose. And the crowd of pilgrims set out across the fields of Beauce:
Here is the only faith that is not disloyal.
Here is the only momentum that knows a little to ascend.
Here is the only moment that is worth the cost.
Here is the only thing that comes to an end and continues.
Charles Péguy, Presentation of Beauce to Notre-Dame de Chartres
For a complete photographic depiction see the site Pilgrimage of Tradition.