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Carmelite Youth Pilgrimage concludes in Rome
25 July 2010

The gathering of young people associated with the Carmelite Order across Europe, known as the "Pilgrimage of Hope", which began in Rome on 19th July (click here to read a report) concluded on the 25th. The young pilgrims stayed at the Carmelite conference centre in Sassone, just outside Rome, where they reflected together on the Carmelite tradition, and visited the holy sites in the Eternal City.

On Wednesday 21st July the pilgrims made the short journey to the Pope's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, walking around the lake and discussing the themes raised in the letter written specially for the Pilgrimage of Hope by the Prior General.

On Thursday 22nd the groups broke into linguistic groups to deliberate further upon the riches of the Carmelite tradition, especially the Rule of Saint Albert. At the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the pilgims shared a Lectio Divina Bible Meditation. That evening they enjoyed a concert at Sassone.

Friday 23rd began with a visit to the Catacombs, before the pilgrims made a visit to St. Peter's Basilica, the nearby Carmelite church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, and the Colosseum. The theme of the day was discipleship of Christ.

The pilgrims sharing a meal together in central Rome.

Among the 200 or so participants was a contingent of a dozen young people from Britain, accompanied by Carmelite friars Kevin Melody, Ged Walsh and Paul Jenkins.

left-right: Kevin Melody, Paul Jenkins and Gerard Walsh.

The Prior Provincial of the British Province, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, also attended part of the pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage group from the British Province of Carmelites.

The final full day, Saturday 24th, was given over to reflecting on the future of Carmel, and a challenging invitation issued by the  Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm.

  The Prior General (centre) with pilgrims from Italy.

The Prior General said: "The journey continues and we have to approach the future with hope and enthusiasm. Carmel offers you a rich tradition of spirituality, a storehouse of literature, art, and music, in which one can see the possibility of a living relationship with a personal God, the God of life, the God of tenderness, the God who is neither an enemy nor a rival of the human person, but rather a friend and one who invites each one to fullness of life and to happiness ... We hope to receive your suggestions, opinions and questions. Do not be afraid to be young and therefore sincere, provocative, creative. Help us to build the Carmelite family. Help us to dream the Carmel of the 21st century." (To read the letter in full please click here).

The pilgrims began returning home on 25th July, and will be bringing their experience back to share with their provinces.

The pilgrims of hope came from across Europe.

Photos from the Pilgrimage of Hope are given on a dedicated website; to access it please click here. A video showing highlights from the week can be viewed by clicking here.