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            January 2022                                      e-newsletter number 20
Welcome to the twentieth
e-newsletter of the
Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome.

 
 

Snow is not common in Rome though it does occur occasionally, This photo by Sean Perry on Flickr dates from February 2012. Pilgrims have always needed to consider the vagaries of the weather when planning to walk along the Via Francigena. Be prepared!  
 

CONTENTS
  • Editorial
  • We walked to Rome!
  • Good news at last for foot passengers from Dover
  • CPR Calendar for 2023 
  • Coming Soon
  • Could you help the work of the Confraternity? 
  • Travel to and from UK and within EU
  • We don't want to lose you...

Editorial


At the beginning of the Bible we soon come across Adam and Eve hearing ‘the Lord walking in the garden [of Eden] in the cool of the evening.’ If you have created something, you probably know the best time to be there!

Common questions from those beginning to make plans for the Via Francigena include, ‘Will it be too hot in Tuscany in August?’ and ‘Will it be too wet or cold in France?’ and of course the perennial question ‘Will I be able to walk across the Gran San Bernardo pass in (insert whatever month)?’ Thinking ahead and making plans, whether in the clouds, or in our heads, or on an extravagant spreadsheet is an essential part of preparing for a pilgrimage, even though each person’s concerns will be unique. By disposition, some are naturally cautious and meticulous and others are carefree and spontaneous. While these different types may on occasion baffle and infuriate each other, there is certainly room for everybody.

For most people, these months of the northern winter are a time for looking ahead rather than for walking long distances although already people may start to work on increasing their fitness with some local walks. But the lengthening days and the appearance of snowdrops and daffodils once again remind us that the kairos, the favourable time, is approaching.

For lots of people right now the wait has been very long as we know that many deferred their walking plans in 2020 and again in 2021. The pandemic has been an unforeseeable obstacle. In different degrees we can always expect to come across obstacles of one sort or another. While we can never be certain what the future holds, there are signs of hope. For many people, two or three or even four doses of vaccine are readily available, though it is sobering to remember that this is not true for all people in the world.

The restraints on travel in Europe are slowly and steadily being relaxed. We sense an excitement among those asking questions about the details of their plans for walking.

Once again it is worth revisiting the aims of our Confraternity. We exist to help and encourage one another, members and potential members,  
  • to encourage, inform, and assist those making a journey to Rome along historical pilgrimage routes on foot, bicycle, or horseback.
  • to promote the health and cultural benefits of journeying along ancient pilgrimage routes, learning about them and engaging with those who live along them. 
  • to collaborate with other organisations to support the maintenance and accessibility of pilgrimage routes to and from Rome. 
It is a shared enterprise, and everyone can both give and receive wisdom.

Let us hope that we can get back on the path this year and hear the encouraging Hello there, Bon chemin and Buon Cammino.
We walked to Rome!
 
After almost two years when most of us were unable to walk along the via Francigena, and a time when we became more and more accustomed to doing things in the virtual world we opened 2022 with a virtual walk. This was an entirely new venture to us and something of an experiment. 
 

We are immensely grateful to those who took part whether from the armchair or along summer or winter paths locally. It provided the opportunity for some happy memories and images to resurface as people shared on Facebook. Together we accumulated over 2600 km and by a happy coincidence that brought us from Canterbury to Rome and back to finish at the midpoint of Danilo's ferry crossing of the Po. A very symbolic place to finish, with one of our great friends.  . 
 

 
Forty three pilgrims joined us,and these were from the UK (26), USA (11), Canada (4), Australia, NZ, Portugal and Italy (1 each). 

Ultrabritain.com provided the online platform and were very patient and helpful with all our questions. We were happy to raise some funds for our work, which runs on a very tight budget but moreso at the chance to engage with our members and start the year as we hope to continue - walking or indeed cycling or even on horseback!  

And we are happy to note that Ultrabritain is signed up to the One Percent for the Planet programme.  
 
Very good news for those wishing to cross the Channel
Another of those 'unforeseeable obstacles' for pilgrims in the past couple of years was the suspension of ferry services for foot passengers between Calais and Dover by P&O Ferries. They were the only carrier providing foot passenger services on this route. This was in part due to the restrictions of the pandemic but we were initially disappointed when the service did not return when travel opened up last summer.

We enjoyed reading the stories of various people who inventively acquired second-hand and sometimes fairly decrepit bicycles in Dover and managed to make the crossing as bicycle users. But this was never going to be an easy option for most people. 

CPR continued to monitor the situation and discussed it with P&O and other local agencies in Dover. And we were very grateful during the year when Captain Nick Jones of P&O graciously carried the pilgrim staff which was the gift of the CPR to the EAVF for their relay pilgrimage to Rome, at a time when we could not travel ourselves.. 

You can read about the relay, the pilgrim staff and the intrepid cyclists in our July 2021 newsletter.

We are  very happy to report now that P&O have just announced the restoration of crossings for foot passengers starting  on 4 February 2022. The ferry crossing of the Channel is just as iconic as that of the Po mentioned above. To be robbed of this would have been a great disappointment. We await news of our first members to cross this year! 
 
CPR Calendar *2023* - you can still submit pictures
In  the last newsletter we brought you news of our plans to produce a CPR calendar for 2023. You can  put it on your Christmas list for this coming December. These unique calendars will only be available from our online shop.

We will use the calendar to showcase photos taken by our own members, so either sort through your archives or be on the alert for an eye-catching shot as you walk this year. 

The above photos are just examples. We look forward to your own inspiration.
 
Here’s how it works
Choose one or more of your own photos
Email them to membershipsecretary@pilgrimstorome.org.uk (one at a time please)
Closing date: late summer 2022
 
The calendar will be sold on the CPR website and will ship in November 2022.
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It is the quiet season for news so this newsletter is shorter than usual. 

BUT...

...we have got plans for the coming months and we will let you know as soon as these become definite. 

We will have a zoom social meeting of members, as we did last year, and hope to have a well-known author of guides to the Via Francigena with us on that occasion to speak and answer questions. As soon as we have a date fixed we will let you know. 

We continue to work on the feeder route from London to Canterbury, which you may have read about in our print newsletter. There will be opportunities for local members to help in March of this year. . 

And we are planning a fundraising social event in London in March.  

Watch your inbox for more details. 
Could you help the work of the Confraternity? 
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The Confraternity is entirely dependent on the work of volunteers for all that it does. If you would like to help us in any way, contact the Chair. Carlo Laurenzi ,who will be very happy to hear from you.  

We are always interested to hear directly from our members what they would like the Confraternity trustees to be doing on behalf of the members. Once again you are welcome to contact the Chair with ideas. 

 

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Travel to and from UK and within the EU

The regulations for travel, testing and quarantine during the continuing pandemic are complex and frequently changing. It remains essential that all pilgrims get official information before setting out and also keep a close eye on the evolving situation. 

This website provides official information for the EU. 

This website provides information for the UK. 
We don't want to lose you...
The Confraternity relies upon membership subscriptions for the bulk of its income. And the Confraternity is committed to  offering support and advice to members who undertake pilgrimage. To allow the work to continue it is essential that we have members. We are immensely grateful to those who have maintained their membership during the past couple of years when few where able to set out on the way. 

As things begin to open up we look forward to welcoming new members but we are hugely appreciative also of those who renew their membership when it expires. We will send you a reminder when it is due to expire. If by any chance you have not received your reminder, please go online to renew your subscription

One year: £25 (individual); £35 (joint)
Three years: £50 (individual); £70 (joint) 
Lifetime: £150(individual); £200 (joint)
Friend of the Confraternity (£500)
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