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2015/12/02

The Year Ahead

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Brigitte Schraudolph from Ochsenfurt made this painting for Pilgrims Crossing Borders

Our list of achievements in 2015 gives us many reasons to be content.We have walked across Europe from Norway to Italy, a formidable pilgrimage of 4,000 kilometers over six months. Five hundred participants from 15 countries have taken part, and we have made new friends as we crossed borders – literally and figuratively. Our planned pilgrimage to Jerusalem had to be cancelled due to the tense situation there. Our pilgrim staff has been brought back from Rome to Nidaros Pilgrim Center in Trondheim, where it – and the diary – will be kept until the time is ripe to embark on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. News will follow.

Dialogue and Fraternization

Is there a way to continue our pilgrimage in the times to come? The pilgrim enthusiasts of Ochsenfurt in Germany organized a weekend meeting in November 2015 to review the pilgrim relay and to discuss possible plans for the future. Sixty participants from near and far attended the gathering to see pictures from the walk, to reminisce and hear speeches about pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca. A spirit of dialogue and fraternization was present. On the agenda in Ochsenfurt was also a brief discussion about the future of PiCroBo. Giovanni Caselli from Bibbiena in Italy pointed out the potential of global pathways and roads as a network for cultural exchange and peacebuilding. The Global Network of Ancient Ways will support and cooperate with Pilgrims Crossing Borders, said Mr. Caselli. Alberto Alberti from Rome followed suit and pointed out how pilgrimages can be incentives for international dialogue and reconciliation. We should appreciate and make use of our network of pilgrim associations, was one of the conclusions from our discussion. Click to see photos from the meeting in Ochsenfurt

Embracing Diversity
We need time to find a modus vivendi for the future. To begin with, we might consider organizing pilgrimages within our respective countries. Such walks might include participants from all walks of life – and from different denominations. International participation should be encouraged when possible. Our idealistic goal could be reflected in the diversity of the participants and the themes we choose to embrace. Our motto is inspiring and normative:
“May the faith which has inspired pilgrims throughout history, uniting them in a common aspiration and transcending national differences and interests, inspire us today, and young people in particular, to travel along these routes in order to build a society founded on tolerance, respect for others, freedom and solidarity. We appeal to all Europeans and in particular to the youth of Europe by recalling the fundamental values and the importance of respect for cultural diversity, and intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.” (From the Declaration of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe)

Pilgrims Crossing Borders is a young movement with potential. Our credo is to embrace diversity, and we should encourage ideas from a diversified audience.  Let us continue to cross borders, literally and figuratively. “Let a hundred flowers blossom,” could be a road sign to follow in the future :-)

Enjoy this slide series from our pilgrimage in 2015 (click to open, then "Present" in the top right corner  to view)

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