Every year, Challenge 2000 with the help of the Society of Mary take a group of people aged about 18 – 35 years on a pilgrimage……2011 was no different. In December a group of 15 packed up some of their things, turned off their cell phones and opened themselves up to whatever the week ahead held in store for them. A pretty courageous act in these busy times!
The group first went to Hawke’s Bay where they spent some time learning about the Marist history and began the journey inward also, starting to ask the questions like ‘what is my call to action’? Obviously not a question that was answered straight away! The journey continued on to Kuratau (on the shores of Lake Taupo) then further on to Jerusalem, up the Whanganui River where the group learned about Suzanne Aubert – the Founder of the Sisters of Compassion. This is always a fundamental part of the yearly pilgrimage as we connect the with the stories of Suzanne Aubert and of a well-respected New Zealand poet, James K. Baxter who spent a good deal of time in Jerusalem. These stories help to further explore the question, ‘what is my call to action?’. The pilgrimage continued to Otaki, where the group visited Pukekaraka Marae – an important part of Challenge 2000’s journey, as Challenge whanau have been visiting there since Challenge began.
As the pilgrimage came to a close, the participants took time to reflect on where they had been – both internally and externally and all said that they had learned a great deal and had a great experience – even though at times it was challenging!
While every year the pilgrimage is different, because the people are always different, the fundamentals remain…..through travelling around Aotearoa New Zealand the participants get a sense of who they are in relation to their country. Through travelling with fellow pilgrims, the participants learn about who they are in relation to others. And through travelling inwards, the participants start to answer the question of who they are and what they are called to become.
Pilgrimage is run yearly in December. If you wish to be a part of it please contact us.