Featured Image
LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen prays while walking the Chartres 'Pentecost Pilgrimage'Jeanne Smits/LifeSiteNews

CHARTRES, France (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen offers insight into the significance of the Chartres pilgrimage as he and his family walk the last few miles to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres 

“I’m praying for you all,” Weston told viewers on the last day of the 70-mile, or 112-kilometer, three-day pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres. 

Despite describing the journey as “incredibly intense,” Westen revealed that it is also an “amazing experience. An experience of uniting ourselves with the saints of old and sufferings of Christ on the cross.” 

“And it’s an intentional suffering,” he added. “You take it on. It’s not just like accepting the sufferings you’re given. It’s one you put on yourself.” 

Western recalled meeting “incredible people on the road, true Catholic heroes and stories that we’re going to share with you shortly.” 

“Some 16,000 people fighting for Catholic tradition, and most of them youth,” he revealed, adding that he estimates most pilgrims were under 20-years-old. 

The ancient pilgrimage attracts Catholics from around the world and this year it is estimated that over over 20,000 pilgrims filled to overflowing the magnificent, iconic gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres in France on Pentecost Monday, after walking three days from Paris as witnesses to their love for the Traditional Latin Mass, while praying for full freedom to be granted for the celebration of the Church’s ancient, apostolic liturgy. 

As they walked for hours on end, men, women, youths, and even little children could be heard reciting and singing the rosary and litany of Our Lady, as well as traditional hymns and chants, folk songs, and rousing cheers to pass the hours in prayer and good spirits. 

READ: Chartres pilgrimage highlights unwavering dedication to Catholic tradition among youth 

The pilgrimage was attended by many groups of Catholic Scouts and Guides from all over France. Additionally, groups traveled from many European countries, including England, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland, The Netherlands, Spain, and Ukraine. Joining the pilgrimage from other continents, pilgrims journeyed from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and New Zealand. LifeSiteNews was represented in the two American chapters. Although coming from different countries and speaking different languages, all were united in their love for and devotion to the Church’s ancient Roman liturgy. 

It is hoped by the faithful who make the Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage that those in authority in the Church will grant their requests for full freedom to be able to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, and that the Church will come to see, as the late Pope Benedict XVI noted, that, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” 

Many commentators have been inspired by the love and devotion they experienced from pilgrims along the journey.  

Henrik Lindell, from the progressive Catholic magazine La Vie, wrote, “If I were to judge trads (traditional Catholics) by the fruits they produce (and that’s a Christian criterion), I’d have to admit that they do our Church an enormous amount of good. So, respect. And gratitude.” 

Indeed, the fruits of Traditional Latin Mass communities were seen in the thousands of youths and small children who made the journey out of love for God and His Church.