Chartres Pilgrimage & Young Catholics

Comment:

The funeral of one of the victims of the Manchester terror attack, a 14 year old Catholic  girl from Scotland, took place today. Her Parish Priest preached a homily in which he naturally praised the teenager, and said:  “In 14 years [she] packed a lot into her 14 years. 14 happy years. That’s so important for us to remember today – [she] was a happy girl, she had 14 happy years and in the last few days of her life she was the happiest you could ever imagine. The last thing in [her] life was happiness – she had spent a wonderful weekend away [from Scotland] going shopping, going to nice Cafes, going to the cinema and then going to her pop idols (sic) concert – Ariana – she was the happiest she had ever been- and that’s what we hold onto today- the happiness of [her] life… ”  

I couldn’t help contrasting this priest’s assessment of a happy teenage life with a recent conversation I had with another 14 year old – a young Scots boy who is currently participating in the Chartres pilgrimage.  Last week he was very excited about the pilgrimage, telling me details of the event, explaining that he would be able to win graces; he was also, of course, excited at the prospect of his first ever trip abroad, first plane journey and looking forward to meeting young people with whom he has been in internet contact through his homeschooling programme.  Yet, through all of his excitement, he was keen to go to Confession before making the trip.  “Between the possibility of a plane crash” he said “and a possible terrorist attack, I want to be ready to go to my judgment!”  At one time, that was the standard Catholic attitude to death: to be prepared, not least when going on a long journey. 

Pray for the repose of the soul of the young Scots girl struck down so cruelly in the Manchester attack, given the possibility that hers was an un-provided death.  And let’s pray, too, that more and more young people are led, by Divine Providence, one way or another, into the traditional Faith.  I’m told that the Chartres Pilgrimage is a very effective way to do this. What do you think?

44 responses

  1. Ed you got it Spot on there . It’s been a few years since I was on a Plane but always liked to be prepared for the inevitable God Forbid. Interestingly on the same subject when Ireland was a Catholic Country and Irishmen were in the Trenches during WW1 . Other men were amazed at their Bravery of course Priests were also in The Trenches with them hearing Confessions and saying Mass. When a soldier went over the top it must have been with great relief that his conscience was Crystal Clear . What times we live in now that you can’t walk across London Bridge.

    • FOOF,

      I couldn’t help smiling at your crack about the times we live in: “now that you can’t walk across London Bridge” – comical, if tragically so true.

  2. What a contrast you have given between the young man who wants to go on pilgrimage and a young girl who died enjoying herself listening to a pop concert where the singer sang about disgusting things. I am not condemning the young girl for enjoying the kind of music which she liked to listen to and I know nothing about the words of the songs which Pop Singer uses in her songs. I can only say that I have read that the songs which she sings contain obscene words. And I happen to believe the report about the content of those songs which I read. I read that the parents of those teenage girls ought to have warned them off becoming too familiar with the contents of those songs.
    I am thrilled for the young man who wants to take care that if some accident were to happen to him then he would be able to have the confidence to face his maker after having been to confession.
    As I say…What a contrast!
    I might also add that I have a great deal of confidence in the safety of the aircraft in which we fly today. I actually like flying! I even learned to fly and although it is now well over a decade since I last flew an aircraft, I still have my Pilot’s Licence.

    • John R,

      Yes, I noticed the contrast immediately I read the priest’s homily. I had never even heard of Ariane before this attack but I know enough about the contemporary pop scene to know that she wouldn’t be singing about the flowers in May.

      Reading the funeral homily I regretted the low expectations for young people which clergy and even many parents display today. They, albeit not deliberately, sell them short. Instead of raising them in the awareness that they are expected to be saints – Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect – Catholic youth are being raised to behave no differently from their peers. It’s very sad.

      I’ll remember about your flying credentials and experience next time I’m planning a trip overseas – I bet your prices beat EasyJet!

  3. I think the young man in question sounds like an outstanding role model to other Catholics. He clearly understands that our purpose is to love and serve God in this world and be happy with Him forever in the next.

  4. That young boy certainly does sound like an outstanding role model. He’s sound unusually mature in the faith for someone his age. I hope and pray that it lasts, as the temptations put in the way of youngsters these days are considerable.

  5. I, too, am impressed at the young man’s faith – so young, it’s marvellous to behold.

    There will be people, however, who disapprove of the use of the young girl’s funeral to contrast her life with that of the boy of the same age. She’s obviously been brought up as a modern Catholic (presumably – the priest seemed to know her, when he was quoted on the TV news) and the boy’s been brought up as a traditional Catholic. So, I wonder how you would defend this blog, given that she is, at best, a victim of her upbringing, not to blame for it?

    To answer the question, I think the Chartres Pilgrimage is a sure way of getting more youngsters into the traditional Faith. You hear stories every year of such.

    • Allan,

      I don’t think anyone is blaming the girl for not being brought up a traditional Catholic. I didn’t see that at all when I read the blog. Her parents are also likely to be too young to have been brought up in the faith properly. It just shows the difference in young people who are brought up in the true faith and those who are modern Catholics. They have the same values as the secular teenagers, and nobody can deny that. It is very sad.

      I notice her name is not given, so I Googled “funeral scots girl manchester attack” to see if this blog came up and it didn’t, so her family won’t be likely to see it, not that there’s anything offensive in it, as far as I can see.

      I do agree that the Chartres pilgrimage is a great way of bringing the young to the traditional religion.

    • Allan,

      I don’t think the poor girl who died was being criticised. The contrast between the impact a modern Catholic upbringing versus a traditional Catholic upbringing has on a young person is what is key. It’s not about criticising an individual. I think that’s quite clear.

      • Lily and Petrus,

        Got it in one. I think it’s perfectly obvious that I took care to write the piece without even naming the girl or her home location. And I certainly did not remotely “blame” her or her parents for anything.

        I have heard people expressing doubts about the wisdom of allowing very young children and teenagers to attend a concert at that time of night – let alone anything to do with the content – and I suppose they are entitled to their opinion. At least for now. The net is closing and anything which appears to question “western values” and “progressive secular values” will soon be a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment. But we won’t tell them that, just yet. 😀

  6. We’ve tried to rear our children as this boy has been reared and they certainly don’t go with the flow. However, it’s an uphill struggle as no other Catholic young person they meet thinks like them. One of my boys said: “it’s like a different religion” and he’s right. I don’t know the answer and we can only pray that this crises soon ends. It’s horrendously difficult being a parent today compared to my parents’ experience. The really had no worries as the schools and the clergy all sang from the same hymn sheet. Not so nowadays! There are days when I wish I had not borne any children.

    • C . Lady like you I tried made lots of mistakes but one can only try . My Daughters don’t go to Mass and I’ve tried. As for myself I was certainly in the Aitheist camp also when I was younger and my Father was for not letting me back into the home after I would come back from working away from home to wreck havoc when I did come home ,only for my Mother I certainly think I would have died . Also though I have no doubt in the power of prayer. I had an Aunt who was a Beautiful Lady but had a childless marriage unfortunately. But who I know prayed for me unceasingly. When I did return to the Faith I knew I was blessed many things happened to me and I went to Mass daily until I returned to work . My Favourite Parable of course is The Prodigal Son and I know also that without doubt, There is more Joy in Heaven when one returns to the Father . After all Christ said I did not come for those who are well, but for those who are sick . Also let’s keep in mind Saint Paul’s words to the Jailor. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you WILL be saved ,You and your whole Household so claim the lot of them . Sorry for the Rant . God Bless . J. D.

    • Crofterlady,

      I’m taking a (risky!) guess at your age, but in your defence, I think the mother of the young boy under discussion, is much younger, and has been through the secularised “Catholic” school system herself and came to the Traditional Latin Mass and Faith relatively recently (about 10 years ago) so she was possibly more alert to the need to cultivate friendships for her children than your ever-trusting good self. She tells me that she made a point of finding traditional Catholic friends for her son, and feels that it is now paying off. He tells her that he can spot the difference a mile away now, when mixing with modern Catholics (at various clubs etc) and he much prefers the company of like-minded traditional Catholic youth. I’ve met some of his young friends (with whom he is in Chartres right now) and they are gold-dust. They talk, with enthusiasm, about the Faith and seem to love it.

      However, your word of warning is welcome, because – as one great saint said – the Devil doesn’t stop working on us until 15 minutes after we’re dead. So, we all have to be vigilant to keep the Faith, and that is true of youngsters these days more than ever.

      Having read your comments on this blog over the years, though, I don’t think you have anything to worry about – I’m sure your offspring are a credit to you and full of Faith: how could they dare NOT to be? 😀

      As for your remark about your parents’ generation when “the schools and the clergy all sang from the same hymn sheet”… I think they still do, that’s the problem. They’re all singing “Bind us together, Lord” even as the Church is crumbling around us! 😉

  7. I have a feeling that the Chartres pilgrims were due to visit Notre Dame Cathedral today in the afternoon, and there has been a lockdown in the cathedral following an attack with a hammer by a man on a policeman in the area outside – a man shouting “This is for Syria”. There was a photo or two on BBC News, which showed the cathedral packed with young people (see one of them below) so I wonder if they are the pilgrims. I’m not sure of the timing – I’m pretty sure they were due to visit today but not certain. I imagine that our 14 year old pilgrim will have been very glad that he went to Confession anyway! “Just in case” springs to mind! For the record, I can’t see him in the photo.

    I laughed at two things in the BBC report: firstly, the claim that the “hundreds” photographed in the cathedral had fled there for safety and, secondly, the question put to the telephone witness by the interviewer: “What are they doing?” To which I replied: “praying!” Couldn’t resist! Can’t remember her reply but it wasn’t anything along the lines of mine! 😀

    • Editor,
      I think the pilgrims came to the cathedral on Monday. However some of them may have come also today (?)…
      I did not see any this morning at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
      There is a strong police presence at the entrance and we are all checked by the Security Service.
      It is impressive!

      • Thank you, Lionel. I wasn’t sure when they were visiting the cathedral – whether at the start of end of the pilgrimage – but I think, anyway, that those inside were not in danger, thank God.

    • Editor,

      That’s a pretty strange posture for traditional Catholics – if indeed that is what this group is. They look like charismatics with their hands waving around – “getting the spirit,” no doubt…..

      • RCA Victor and Helen,

        I presumed everyone would know that it is standard practice in this sort of situation for the police to ask everyone in a crowd to raise their hands – that lets them ensure that nobody will suddenly pull out a weapon and, as they said on the news when they explained this, they can also quickly identify anyone who has NOT raised their hands. Drum roll….

        Although they didn’t explain it in the early news reports about the London Bridge attack, I presumed those were the reasons when the crowds walked quickly away from the scene, hands in the air.

        Catholic Truth at your service

      • No, RCA VICTOR,
        that was the Security Servicemen who asked people present in the cathedral to raise their arms in order to avoid crowd movements and especially burrs…

  8. Here, in France, the Catholic youth is very attached to the pilgrimage of Chartres; this is my favorite pilgrimage…

    • That’s wonderful Lionel. I often hear that the pilgrimage is very popular with young people, and that it has a track record of playing cupid – many solid Catholic marriages have come from Chartres, I’m told. I wonder if I should book next year… assuming, of course, that they’d allow me to stay at home with my feet up and a good mystery during the (tortuous) walking part, AND stay in a hotel, with en suite, instead of camping out. What do you think? 😀

      • That is an excellent idea, Editor, however it is quite a long walk!… (Chartres is at about 62 miles from Paris and we walk for about 30 miles)
        Please, think about it!

          • Editor,
            I must confess that I do not walk. I drive my car to Chartres and stay here waiting for pilgrims in a restaurant not far from the cathedral…
            “Je me délecte d’escargots de Bourgogne et de cuisses de grenouilles poêlées”, delicious!

  9. Update…

    I was told today that the young boy mentioned in the blog article, was NOT in the cathedral yesterday during the attack – he was, mercifully, miles away in Chartres, at the time.

  10. I have experienced the Chartres pilgrimage 5 times and have been greatly inspired by the numbers of young people who are so devout and enthusiastic about their faith, especially the French and of course from all over the world too.
    The scouts and girl guides lead and organise their own groups (chapters) in hymn singing and praying and carry the heavy banners for miles at a time. It is beautiful and edifying to see. They are also very respectful in the way they receive Holy Communion and pray. Unlike so many young people in the modern church..
    In the UK chapters they walk behind the Banner of Our Lady of Walsingham and the youth chapters have been growing yearly bringing young people together to pray and to listen to good priests and lay people explaining the faith during the walking. Priests are on hand all along the route for confession or for encouragement and support.
    It was good to be able to pray and sing in Latin and French as well as English so I soon learnt to pray the rosary in Latin with other nationalities giving us a flavour of the Church’s universality.

    In the evenings if you had any energy left (in my case not a lot!) we enjoyed the chat over the days experiences of sore feet and blisters! I would certainly recommend the pilgrimage as a way for young people to meet and befriend like minded Catholics or even their future spouses!

    It was uplifting, moving, exhausting and I would love to go again sometime with the over the hill group as I don’t think I can walk the whole 72 miles!
    One of the things which upset me though was to see the director of the choir in jeans adjacent to the altar where the priest and altar servers at Mass wore their lovely vestments.
    Most women were able to walk in skirts so I thought this was not appropriate as we could see the back of the director as she was turned to choir. This was not edifying.

    The final Mass in Notre Dame is also one of the highlights of the whole experience of praying and giving glory to God at Pentecost.

    • Clotide

      I thought the Mass at Chartres was the traditional Latin Mass – are you saying you attended a novus ordo? I can’t image your description applying to the old rite Mass.

      • Lily, the Mass at Chartres IS a a TLM. I don’t know why or what the lady n the jeans was up to, but it WAS a TLM.

        • Crofterlady,

          My nephews who serve at the Glasgow Society chapel tell me that nobody, including the Sacristan (an elderly layman) EVER go into the sanctuary in secular dress. NEVER. And no woman would every step inside the sanctuary. I’ve attended other TLMs where the laymen servers wear their everyday clothes, even serving Mass, but that just wouldn’t happen in our chapel; I presume that is an “SSPX” thing. Maybe because I’ve become so used to seeing the way the sanctuary is protected and revered in the Society chapel, I’m horrified when I see the laxity elsewhere – including, it seems, even Chartres.

      • This was one of the Masses out in the countryside. Not in Chartres. However the altar was beautiful and the choir in a recess next to it..was lovely choir. This pilgrimage is traditional and organised by the Latin Mass society. Not the SSPX

        • Margaret,

          I think – having attended Masses organised by others than the SSPX – that they just do not come up to the same standard. That’s a fact. A very sad fact.

          • Editor,

            I have to agree – the LMS do their best but the SSPX chapels that I’ve visited are totally traditional – there are no laywomen in the sanctuary at any time and no servers wearing lay dress. Everywhere else, it’s chequered.

  11. Wonderful video, says it all..

    I understood that Our lady’s veil was also the swaddling cloth for the baby Jesus. Not sure how true that is though.

    Didn’t know that Cardinal Burke said the final Mass at Chartres.

    The Te Deum at the end of the Mass is very moving and glorious.

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