PILGRIMS TO PALESTINE
WILL pilgrimages to the Holy " Land ever regain their central position in the Christian way of life? I have before me a letter outlining the summer plans of 10 seminarians who have scraped together sufficient funds to buy an Austin van. In July they hope to set out for Palestine via Holland, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The trip sounds very adventurous and risky. but it can hardly compete for danger with the trials undertaken by pilgrims 400 years ago. Fr. Brodrick, in his life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, vividly describes the hazards so cheerfully borne. The political situation in the Middle East remains uneasy, but life imprisonment is unlikely and an Austin is more reliable than the pilgrim ships.
THE HOLY PLACES
IT is surprising that the Holy
Places, and a pilgrimage to them, are not as yet a central feature of the tourist programme. Each year holiday makers get further afield. Here, in Lancashire, Blackpool is no longer the only goal. I meet hundreds of young and even middle-aged people who regard Italy as too obvious and too near home. Lourdes itself is fast becoming the ideal place for the day of recollection on a cheap day return. Palestine alone remains inaccessible and for this very reason a target for the more robust. The whole spirit of the Christian peoples will revive when once again a journey to Jerusalem is planned as the great spiritual exercise of adult life.
HIGH Jinks among the under
graduates are part of the Christian tradition, and medieval chroniclers devote much space to university students and their riotous interludes. Recent outbreaks seem mild when put beside the violence of former times. After questioning many ordinary citizens of different cities, I find that objection is taken not to undergraduate high spirits but to the lack of humour and spontaneity in so many panto rags. Ordinary people expect of undergraduates an intelligence and gaiety above the ordinary run of noisy knock-about. So many panto days are cheap. Students make fools of themselves wandering the streets in pyjama jackets and shouting and laughing at no particular joke. They fail as dismally as those artists in television Christmas parties who seem to think that noise is a satisfactory substitute for a witty script. Not a few of those whom I questioned felt vaguely ashamed of the university which ought to he one of the prides of any town. An undergraduate assured me that the panto rag was regarded as a horo by the majority of students and that a small clique kept it going, in some cases purely as a gesture to the town.
GRAIL LENTEN PROGRAMME
" CIO thy way and do thou like ' wise" (Luke 10: 37). "We are told that 24,000 babies are born each night whilst we are asleep. Every day, too, there are new converts baptised and born again into the Church. For the first few years of its life, a baby depends on the care and nursing of other people. In the same way new converts need help and encouragement in their first few years in the Church. Some of them live among people who are hostile or indifferent to their faith and they may not have one single Catholic friend or acquaintance.
Although they are given instructions before they are received, they need to go on learning the background of the faith and Catholic practices and customs. This week find out at least one recent convert in your parish and make friends with him or her."
THE Westgate Leadership course
is due to begin in late July, and already 17 have written in to hook places. Details will he given later, but it is not too soon to make a provisional booking. Men and women are welcome and school leavers find in the course an excellent introduction to adult life.
writing about the Lourdes festival, describes the foyer of the Town Hall with its large brass ash trays let into the walls. He notes that one of the most delightful moments for him was the arrival of three devout sisters for the festival who put their hands to the lip of the ash trays and then piously signed themselves on entering the hall..