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Carmelite Youth Pilgrimage begins in Rome
21 July 2010

The gathering of young people associated with the Carmelite Order across Europe, known as the "Pilgrimage of Hope", began in Rome on 19th July, and will continue until the 25th. The young pilgrims are staying at the Carmelite conference centre in Sassone, just outside Rome, where they will reflect together on the Carmelite tradition, and visit the holy sites in the Eternal City.

The pilgrims arriving at Sassone.

Among the 200 or so participants is a contingent of a dozen young people from Britain, accompanied by Carmelite friars Kevin Melody, Ged Walsh and Paul Jenkins. The Prior Provincial of the British Province, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, is also attending part of the pilgrimage.

Brothers Ged Walsh (front, centre) and Paul Jenkins
attending the first plenary session.

The participants were welcomed by the organising committee,
and the Councillor General for Europe, Fr. John Keating, O.Carm.

The participants were greeted with an introductory video and a letter of welcome from the Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm., which began: "Dear Friends, I would like first of all, on behalf of the Carmelite Order, to welcome you to Rome. I hope that these days of pilgrimage, reflection, prayer, fun and fraternal encounter, will be an unforgettable experience for you." In his letter the Prior General reflected on the importance of pilgrimage in the Christian tradition in general, and the Carmelite tradition in particular, listing Aylesford (in the British Province) among the Order's most important pilgrimage sites. (To read the letter in full please click here).

The Prior General in discussion with the pilgrims.

On the feast of the prophet Elijah, 20th July, the participants reflected on Elijah and Mary as the foundational inspirations for the Carmelite way of life.

On 20th July they also made a pilgrimage to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome.

Young pilgrims from the British Province of Carmelites adjust to the Roman heat!

Portuguese pilgrims of hope, including (second left) Tiago de Oliveira Casaleiro,
a postulant who has spent time at Aylesford Priory in England.

On the evening of 20th July the pilgrims gathered in the ancient Carmelite Church of San Martino ai Monti in central Rome for a celebration of the prophet Elijah.

The celebration in San Martino.

Whilst in San Martino, pilgrims were able to visit the tomb of Blessed Angelo Paoli, the Carmelite 'Father of the Poor', who was beatified in April this year.

British Pilgrims of Hope visiting the tomb of Blessed Angelo.

Updates on the Pilgrimage of Hope are given on a dedicated website; to access it please click here.