Popular Tasmanian pilgrimage returns

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Popular Tasmanian pilgrimage returns

The popular Tasmanian pilgrimage the Way to St James Cygnet is set to take place again this coming January.
Held over two days, from January 11-12, the walking pilgrimage will take pilgrims through 32 kilometres of the scenic Huon Valley before finishing in Cygnet, at the Spanish colonial-style church of St James.

It was the St James Church that was the original inspiration for the pilgrimage – now running for the fourth time – which is based on the much longer El Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Like the Spanish version, Tasmania’s pilgrims will have the option of wearing the pilgrim’s scallop shell – which will be blessed by pilgrimage-founder Fr Michael Tate.

They will also have an opportunity to hear about one of Christianity’s most beloved saints, St Francis of Assisi, and his spirituality, as well as celebrating a feast on Saturday night, and Sunday Mass together. As the pilgrims arrive in Cygnet on Sunday afternoon – as the Cygnet Folk Festival is underway – they’ll carry a large copper icon of St James and be greeted by a Spanish singer. The pilgrimage will end in St James Church.

“Right throughout the world, the idea of walking, contemplating, the rhythm of pilgrimage, is deep in many, many cultures, different countries, and different religious traditions,” Fr Tate said.

“I’m drawing on the Spanish tradition of the El Camino de Santiago, which is well known to many Tasmanians. In a small version, we meander through the Huon Valley to end up at St James at Cygnet.”

Fr Tate says that the pilgrimage is “accessible to all” and elements such as the companionship between pilgrims, the meals together, and the conviviality are all established features.

The location is also important with pilgrims making their way through the beautiful countryside.

“The beauty of the surroundings sinks into people’s souls,” Fr Tate said.

With previous years drawing pilgrims from both Tasmania and further afield – including overseas – this year’s pilgrimage is again expected to prove popular.

For more information, go to waytostjames.com.au