Youth camino, an encounter with Christ, says CYM Director

11 Nov 2021

By Contributor

The camino participants attended a morning Mass celebrated by Catholic Youth Ministry (CYM) Chaplain Father Joseph Laundy, then embarking on a 15km camino from the Bullsbrook Revelation Shrine to Divine Mercy Church in Chittering on 23 October. Photo: Supplied.

The quiet tranquillity of the beautiful Chittering Valley was accompanied by the pacing feet of 17 young people who undertook a camino pilgrimage on Saturday 23 October.

Organised by Catholic Youth Ministry Perth, the journey began with a Mass at Our Lady of the Revelation Shrine in Bullsbrook and ended at the newly completed Divine Mercy Church in Chittering – a gruelling 15km track up and down the rolling hills.

The conception of the walk was inspired by the ancient Christian practice replicating the world-famous Camino to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, where through the centuries, thousands of Christians have journeyed to the famous shrine of St James the Apostle to seek spiritual favours or to give thanks for prayers answered.

Although significantly shorter, this experience was for many of the participants their first time to be on pilgrimage on foot.

For a typical spring day, the Saturday couldn’t have been more favourable in the warm sun, a gentle breeze and plenty of shade during rest stops.

Catholic Youth Ministry Director, Adeline Bock, said the concept allowed youth to experience Christ in a unique way just as he called disciples and walked with them from town to town sharing the Good News with them.

Furthermore, she said, it was way of “encountering Christ along the way, walking with others, experiencing the beauty of nature in the picturesque Chittering Valley.”

As this was an 18+ event, the participants relied on their youthful energy, the regular sustenance of water and snacks and accompaniment of a toilet-on-trailer for ongoing comfort.

Catholic Youth Ministry Chaplain Fr Joseph Laundy, in his homily, spoke about our identity as Christians and expanded on the purpose of the pilgrimage.

“Before Christians were known by the name of Christian, they were known by another [name], they were known as People of the Way.” “This,” he said, “allows us to dive deeper into the mystery and identity of who the Christian is,” Fr Laundy said.

“That we, as Christians are on a spiritual quest towards the Lord and that each step is a step closer to the Lord and the destiny of Heavenly homeland.”

“While going on pilgrimage today is often complete with the comforts of coach buses and hotel accommodation, the act of pilgrimage is a venerable ancient Christian tradition – Not only is it a time to journey to a holy place or site but it’s a reminder of who we are and what we are doing in our spiritual lives,” he added.

The pilgrims in front of the Divine Mercy Church in Chittering at the conclusion of the CYM camino on 23 October. Photo: Supplied.

As the camino neared its completion toward the Divine Mercy Church in Chittering, the pilgrims were treated to a carillon of bells. Benediction formally concluded the walk which as Fr Joseph said, “was a way of thanking God for bringing us safely to the end”, after which everyone had lunch to recharge their weary bodies and enjoy each other’s company.”

Chittering Parish Priest Fr Paul Fox welcomed the arriving participants and gave a short history of the construction of the church.

While tiring, the camino was a success and many left with brimming positivity in accomplishing this feat.

Catholic Youth Ministry is an agency of the Archdiocese of Perth in supporting and promoting youth ministry. In addition to supporting parish youth groups and organising youth events, it runs a weekly Holy Hour and Mass each Wednesday at Catholic Pastoral Centre, 40a Mary St, Highgate beginning Holy hour at 5:30pm and Mass at 6:45pm, followed by dinner. During certain times in the year, CYM also runs formation after Holy Hour and Mass. All young people aged 18+ are welcome to attend. For more information contact CYM on 94227912.

The Embrace the Grace 2021 youth conference is on 9 to 12 December and for young people aged 16 to 25. For more information