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The Dominican Way 2015 - Report

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

 The Dominican Way 2015 - ReportYoung men and women joined a team of Dominican friars for the second Dominican Way pilgrimage, from 29 July to 9 August 2015.

The route was nearly identical to the 2014 walk, taking in 130 miles from Arundel to Canterbury, where they arrived to celebrate the feast of St Dominic. Participants commented: ‘Incredibly enriching’ – ‘I had the most wonderful experience’.

The Dominican Way aims to bring the four Dominican 'pillars' – prayer, community, study, preaching – to life on the road. The pilgrim group prayed the Divine Office together, along with daily Mass and Rosary. Everyone pitched in with tasks such as cooking and washing up. They learned about Catholic life and history, including the recusant secret chapel at West Grinstead, the Benedictines at Worth Abbey, the Carmelite friars at Aylesford, and Pugin’s church in Ramsgate, now the national shrine of St Augustine of Canterbury. Finally, the pilgrims shared their faith in a preaching that bore witness to Christ to the people they met along the way.

'The Dominican Way was my first ever pilgrimage and I had the most wonderful experience!', commented Visitation Lesterpearson, a student at Durham University who found out about the pilgrimage through the Dominican chaplaincy there. 'It was great to meet fellow young Catholics from different parts of the world and share our beliefs and thoughts. Walking with four friars was a privilege where I learned much about my Catholic faith and it definitely made it a Dominican pilgrimage!'

The core group counted nine pilgrims, with two others joining mid-walk. Being smaller than the 2014 group made the logistics easier and prompted strong camaraderie. Márta Kollar, who walked both years, said, 'It wasn't just walking, it was singing, praying, getting to know the others, becoming part of a community that shared everything for that brief moment in time.'

The pilgrims were 'overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of people we met on our way', receiving hospitality from both Catholic and Anglican communities. The gratitude and joy was reciprocal; after just two pilgrimages, one host said it was 'rather like welcoming back old friends'. One highlight was being interviewed and filmed for a new DVD on pilgrimage! To Be A Pilgrim: The Canterbury Way, by St Anthony Communications, was released in October 2015.

The pilgrims unanimously recommended going again. Visitation said, 'This was not only a pilgrimage but a journey towards deeper faith, hope and love and everyone who is able should definitely join!'

The Dominican Way pilgrimage will not run in 2016, as the DYM will instead be taking a group to World Youth Day in Krakow.

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