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CPR Practical Pilgrim Day

It is always a pleasure to get with people who have shared common experiences. The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome, as a group, is still in its infancy. Last Saturday they held only their 4th AGM since foundation, but there is obviously a very strong, committed core of support, with a membership that is growing rapidly. Still a long, long way from the dizzy heights of the success of the Confraternity of St James, but following it in its wake.

The first session, led by Via Francigena veteran Joe Patterson, provided interesting overviews of how to make your pilgrimage happen, covering all those necessary details from what boots to wear to how much luggage to carry. With several recent returnees from the VF in the audience, there was lively debate and many reflections on the ups and downs of long distance travelling.

I had been invited to fill the after-lunch slot with my presentation of a Cyclist’s Tale of my journey from Canterbury to Rome, which I had completed last September. Unlike all my presentations to date (to parish groups, Rotary and cycling clubs) I was standing before an audience who all had some experience of the VF, or were expecting to embark on their journey in the near future. I love telling the story of the journey……………and that is basically what it is………my story (or my tale). If I had been speaking to an audience of a 1000 people who had all travelled exactly the same journey, my own experience would have been unique, and so would everybody else’s. Furthermore, since the cyclist’s perspective (because most pilgrims walk) is rarely put across, I was delighted to be able to promote the use of two wheels to travel along this most ancient route.

Read more about the Confraternity.