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SACRED PLACES, PILGRIM WAYS: Catholic Pilgrimages in France and Belgium

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 Contents - Dec 2006AD2000 December 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The first Christmas - Peter Westmore
Benedict XVI challenges 'de-Christianisation' of society - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Sydney RCIA conference for 2007 on authentic formation of new Catholics - Paula Flynn
'Lost!' controversy: Archbishop Bathersby's reply - AD2000 Report
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: the Montessori method for RE - Anne Delsorte
A 'best practice' guide to priestly vocations
Modest dress: Suitable attire for Mass: the moral dimension - Bishop John W. Yanta
Religious Life: Tyburn Sisters' communities spread around the world - Tess Livingstone
2006 National Church Life Survey: important questions overlooked - Michael Gilchrist
Shrines: Marian Valley: Queensland's centre of pilgrimage - Peter Westmore
Letters: Vatican guidelines on Holy Communion for politicians - Vincent Bemowski
Letters: A must read for faithful Catholics - Frank Bellet
Letters: Liberal Catholicism - Paula Gartland
Letters: News from India - Fr Francis Pinto CSsR
Letters: Church teaching - Mark Moriarty
Letters: Infant Baptism
Letters: Community? - Peter Gilet
Letters: Christian differences - Alan Barron
Letters: True Church - E. Makaus
Letters: Linguistics - Matt Bruekers
Letters: Liturgical language - Ted Hayhoe
Letters: Why apologise? - Concerned Catholic
Books: The Shroud Story, by Brendan Whiting - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: COME, LORD JESUS:Reflections on the Advent and Christmas Seasons, James Tolhurst - Michael Gilchrist
Events: Advent and Christmas Ceremonies - Priestly Fraternity of St Peter
Books: SACRED PLACES, PILGRIM WAYS: Catholic Pilgrimages in France and Belgium - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: New Titles from AD Books
Reflection: Jesus' law of love and the Ten Commandments - Fr Dennis Byrnes

A Guide for Catholic Pilgrimages in France and Belgium
by Barry M. Coldrey CFC
(Tamanaraik Press, 2006, 180pp, $24.95. Available from Box 12792, Beckett St PO, Melbourne 8006, tel (03) 9480-2119,

Australia has been Christianised for only 200 years so there are few pilgrimage centres, the shrine to Blessed Mary McKillop in North Sydney being an exception. However, in the British Isles and Ireland spring and summer pilgrimages are popular, as they are in Western Europe, particularly among backpackers, the middle-aged and recently retired.

Over the first four months of 2006, Brother Coldrey was on sabbatical in England, France and Belgium and during that time he visited many sacred places collecting materials for a series of books. This is the first of them.

Sacred Places, Pilgrim Ways commences with an exploration of the idea and purpose of Christian pilgrimages along with an historical overview of these since the fourth century, with the Holy Land and Rome the focus at this stage.

Modern European pilgrimages have been predominantly Marian since Our Lady has made certain places holy for believers through her apparitions. Br Coldrey focuses on Mary's appearances at La Salette, Lourdes, Pontmain, Pellevoisin and L'Ile Bouchard in France; and at Beauraing and Banneux in Belgium.

There are also sections on the appearances of Jesus to St Margaret-Mary Alacoque at Paray-Le- Monial and on the shrines of St Bernadette Soubirous at Nevers, St Joan of Arc at Rouen, St Thérse at Lisieux, together with briefer treatments of Rocamadour, Mont St Michel and Chartres.

The book aims at assisting Australian and New Zealand Catholics make pilgrimages when they are abroad: at any one time, over one million Australians are living or travelling overseas. The British Isles are their most popular travel destination and from London many major centres are easily reached by car, coach or Eurostar.

The book contains abundant information on travel, accommodation and health in France and Belgium as well as on each pilgrimage centre in these countries.

The author provides a broad overview of Church history along with a presentation in layman's language of the theology and status of Christian pilgrimages over two millennia. Maps indicate the location of the shrines described and the traditional pilgrimage routes.

For those wishing to pursue further research, the footnote references and select bibliography offer a handy guide.

This is a most useful book for anyone wishing to make the most of overseas travel that takes in France and Belgium.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 11 (December 2006 - January 2007), p. 18

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