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Pilgrimage leaves lasting impression

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A pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year provided Croydon Park parishioner Cora Hoare with a “life changing” experience that has helped to refocus her life and strengthened her faith.

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“I went on this pilgrimage searching for a deeper spirituality, healing and forgiveness as I am experiencing a change in my life direction, and the pilgrimage gave me an answer, a new sense of awareness to what I am going through in my life,” she said.
Led by Fr Maurice Shinnick, the 15-day tour last October was organised through Harvest Journeys and included 26 pilgrims from the Adelaide Archdiocese.
Promoted as an opportunity to ‘walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the very places where He lived, performed his ministry, died and rose again’, Cora said the pilgrimage delivered on all counts.
“We visited many sacred places and the highlight for me was Jerusalem. It brought me closer to the experience of Jesus as he approached his death and this helped me become closer to God and strengthened my faith.
“We went to the chapel inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and our two priests celebrated a Mass. The tomb of Jesus lies under the chapel and we were able to go inside, three at a time, for a few seconds to pray.
“It is very hard to express the feeling I had during this spiritual adventure,” said an emotional Cora.
Once the Holy Land pilgrimage ended, Cora (pictured) chose to take up the option to travel on to Paray-le-Monial in France to celebrate the feast day of St Margaret Mary Alacoque. This was a fitting conclusion to her faith journey, as Cora attends St Margaret Mary’s Church in Croydon.
Besides the spirituality of the tour, Cora said it was wonderful to not only spend time with others from her parish but to get to know pilgrims from other parishes in the Archdiocese. When her luggage was lost towards the end of the trip, she was particularly grateful that her new friends generously supplied her with the basic necessities and some clothes until she arrived home.
Since returning to Adelaide some of the pilgrims have remained in contact and gathered for a “reunion lunch” to share memories from their time away together.
Formerly working in the manufacturing and hospitality industries, Cora retired in 2008 and this was the first time she had embarked on a pilgrimage, but said it won’t be the last.
“I’d really recommend this as something for other Christians to experience.
“It was a life changing and unforgettable experience and I really want to do another one, perhaps to Rome next time.”

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