The Gaspe & The Islands
A few years ago, while hiking on Mount Saint-Joseph in Carleton, amazed with all of Nature’s beauty, Patricia LeBlanc m.c.r. came up with the idea of establishing a pilgrimage around the Gaspe diocese. Her dream was to create an itinerary comparable to the one in Compostela, Spain. She began speaking about it to her friends and relatives, thus giving it some serious thought. The idea was well received.
A first meeting was held on the 12th of May 2005 at Gaspe. Several people from different areas of the Gaspe came to participate. We had set the foundations of what was later to become the “Pilgrimage Land & Sea, The Gaspe & The Islands”. We discussed the relevance of such a project and the way to achieve it.
What emerged, following the meeting, was that we would act in a partnership with the diocese of Gaspe. The boundaries of the diocese were to be : Listiguj on the south side and Cap-Chat on the north side as well as the Magdalene Islands.
We established our objectives as follows:
- Favor a process of inner journey…
- Share with other Christian denominations encountered on the road
- Allow people of local communities to closely get involved in the pilgrimage, which of course will be planned in advance by the organizing committee.
- The last objective and not the least, was to create a guide that would allow pilgrims to do it in full autonomy, creating a specific itinerary.
The first edition took place in August 2006. We dreamt of walking the entire diocese of the Gaspe and the Magdalene Islands.
In each edition we intend to highlight what characterized this initiative from the very beginning, either the availability and involvement of the organizers, the constant support from the diocese of Gaspé, the growing desire of people from here and elsewhere to participate in this walking retreat and of course, the generosity of the receiving communities by the implication of those responsible for their parishes or congregations.
As members of the organizing committee, it is with great pleasure that we form a team with other parishes and/or congregations of Christian denominations in order to live out the next edition, in sharing and in brotherhood.
Our mission is to participate in the animation of Christian Life by walking on the territory of the diocese of Gaspe while conveying important values such as respect for our differences, liberty, solidarity and brotherhood.
This mission implies several objectives inside the pilgrimage, which are to :
- facilitate an approach of interiority
- share with other Christian denominations
- allow those communities visited to appropriate the event
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE SMALL CROSS
The pilgrim’s little cross is made out of wood from our land, floating on the sea, drifting to the winds of our lives, nourished by the powerful sap from that other cross, a grand tree planted on our shores a while ago.
It is pleasant to remember that the official history of our country started at the time Jacques Cartier planted a cross in Gaspe on the 24th of July, 1534. This was the marking of our country’s Act of Birth.
It is, also, around the cross of our bell towers, that our ancestors would gather together to pray, celebrate, share and often help each other out.
Today, it is with great pride that we, pilgrims of the Pilgrimage Land & Sea, carry this little cross. It is the emblem of our beliefs, of our membership to a community that is eager to recognize it, and throughout other Christian denominations in the different municipalities that we cross. Thus, the little cross becomes a link of brotherhood with folks from here and elsewhere.
« To undertake a pilgrimage, is…
“To get ready to walk… it is above all to wish to undertake an interior trip: in our mind, in our heart, in our conscience. It is also a journey…
Following the footsteps of the great pilgrims of the early centuries towards the holy land, Rome, Compostella and those of today,, with whom we rediscover the need for an interior journey which invigorates the spirit, delights the heart and helps us to become more aware of the meaning of our human journey.
I wish that the Good News of Jesus be part of every pilgrim’s march and that all the people who will undertake this pilgrimage will discover the mysterious traveller who walked with the pilgrims of Emmaüs ».
These words from Bishop Jean Gagnon on the promotion flyer of the Pilgrimage Land & Sea, The Gaspe & The Islands are a warm invitation to everyone, to join this activity.
Whatever your age, physical capacity, aspirations… with a good pair of shoes, a light packsack, alone or as part of a group, 1 km, 10 km or 100 km ? 30 minutes, 3 hours or more? One day, 5 days or 7 days ? You set your own pace and the distance to cover.
NEXT EDITION OF PILGRIMAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. HOWEVER, WE CAN INFORM YOU THAT THE TRAJET WILL BE FROM COIN-DU-BANC TO POINTE-NAVARRE. WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT MOST OF THE PATH IS ON THE ROAD 132 GIVEN THE ABSENCE OF SECONDARY ROADS IN THIS SECTOR. THERE WILL ALSO HAVE PORTIONS OF TRAJET THAT WILL BE ON THE BEACH AND ON THE CYCLE TRACK.
For more information, please contact Daniele Kavanagh, 418-752-3386 ext. 1212 or 418-752-6880 or Patricia LeBlanc at 418 368-6490.
Shuttle service by bus:
A shuttle service by bus will be available for the next pilgrimage from Coin-du-Banc to Pointe-Navarre. Details are coming.
Accommodation and transport:
You must make your own arrangements to find accommodation (hotel, motel, lodging, camping). A better choice is offered to you if you book quickly. Here are two links that might help you:
ALL YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE LEAVING
PRIOR TO THE DEPARTURE
Before leaving, participants must already be registered.
All participants must fill in and sign the claim renunciation form before participating in the pilgrimage.
Pilgrims that register for the activity, pledge to observe the directives and to act as responsible citizens at all times, respectful for nature, for public and private property.
The pilgrimage takes place, regardless of the weather.
Accompanying dogs must be held on a leash at all times while walking the pilgrimage routes. Dogs will not be admitted in the churches, meeting rooms or community hall, where the group of pilgrims are lodging, neither in the bus hired for the pilgrimage, EXCEPT FOR GUIDE-DOGS ACCOMPANYING BLIND PEOPLE OR PERSONS WITH A MOBILITY HANDICAP.
The organizers of this pilgrimage do not hold themselves responsible for stolen or lost objects, for accidents or injuries, and this at all times.
The journey takes place mostly on paved roads and sometimes on trails.
Always observe road circulation regulations and indications for pedestrians when any; this also applies to bicycle trails.
As much as possible, walk facing the oncoming traffic, preferably in small groups or alone.
Use the sidewalks when possible. Carefully check both sides of the road before crossing.
During the itinerary, we suggest you have with you a small packsack for your water, solar cream, personal effects, windbreaker, hat, sunglasses, raincoat, etc.
It is mandatory to have with you at all times your medical insurance card and an identification card.
If you are frequently hungry, plan on bringing energy bars, nuts, dry fruits, fruit juice, etc. Please note that each pilgrim is responsible for his or her own food and water provisioning and transportation of his packsack. It is important to bring a bag to put the waste in order not to leave traces of our passage on the places where we stopped.
IMPORTANT: At the halfway point of any given itinerary, pilgrims walking at a slower pace will be invited to climb aboard the accompanying car in order that they may reintegrate the group in time for the scheduled bus departure. From that point on, those that will have declined the invitation will be considered as pilgrims in full autonomy mode.
And since the success of the pilgrimage depends a great deal on the condition of your feet, we recommend that you:
- wear appropriate walking shoes that have been worn long enough to be broken in;
- bring extra socks, foot care products and something for muscular pain;
- and why not a walking stick ?
Remember that it is important to go according to your own rhythm.
The Pilgrimage Land & Sea, The Gaspe & The Islands began in 2006, within the gaspesian community. If this project appeals to you, we invite you to support us financially with a donation, by means of a check made out to « Pèlerinage Terre et Mer, Gaspésie – Les Îles » at the following address: 172, rue Jacques-Cartier, Gaspé (Québec) G4X 1M9. A tax receipt will be submitted for donations of 10 $ or more, upon request.