By Eric Martin
Monsignor Hawes Heritage Events has recently announced the 2019 Camino San Francisco, a pilgrimage that celebrates both WA’s natural and man-made heritage, as well as facilitating personal physical, mental and spiritual wellness.
According to Father Robert Cross, Director of Heritage for the Diocese of Geraldton, organisational preparations for Camino 2019 are in full swing, ready to take pilgrims out to the churches built by Monsignor Hawes at the beginning of the last century.
“We now have our team of five people in place who will provide support along the route for the walkers, such as driving the two safety vehicles, the vehicle with a porta-loo, the bus and the drinks and snack replenishment vehicle,” Fr Cross said.
“We have also confirmed the places for the overnight stays and the provision of all meals.”
Fr Cross confirmed that he has ordered 40 Scallop Shells for Camino walkers to wear; the scallop being the traditional sign of the Camino pilgrim, seen all over the Camino trails of Europe.
“Our passport stamps are made and I will soon start printing the beautiful Camino certificates that are presented to those who successfully complete the Camino on the last day.”
“Rain these past couple of weeks promises a wonderful wildflower display and who knows, perhaps golden fields of canola – August is such a beautiful month in the Midwest,” Fr Cross added.
“Hopefully the weather will be kind to us on the days of the Camino, but we never complain about the gift of rain in this part of the world, and in any case, little difficulties like a sprinkle of rain is all part of what a real Camino is about.”
Pilgrims will embark on the three-day walk from Geraldton at 9am on Friday 9 August, beginning with St Francis Xavier Cathedral’s Labyrinth, reception of the Camino pilgrim shell and stamping of Camino passports with the Camino’s Cathedral stamp.
A bus will then transfer pilgrims from Geraldton to the natural wonder of Ellendale Pool where pilgrims will have the opportunity for a 24km walk from the pool to the quaint Monsignor Hawes’ St James’ Chapel of Ease, located at Kojarena.
Pilgrims’ passports will be stamped by members of the local community, before an overnight camp at the Echidna Park Sporting Club, where pilgrims can enjoy a shower, dinner and each other’s company under the stars.
On Saturday 10 August, after morning Mass in St James Church and a catered breakfast, pilgrims will set off on a 26km walk from Echidna Park to the next church designed by Monsignor Hawes, Our Lady of Fatima Church in Nanson.
Once again, welcomed by locals, pilgrims’ passports will be stamped, after which they will retire to Nanson Show Grounds, where a shower can be had followed by a country Dinner prepared and served by the ladies of the Yuna CWA.
Come Sunday 11 August, pilgrims will join with the people of Nanson and the Chapman Valley at 10am to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the opening of Our Lady of Fatima Church and the adjacent Hawes built convent.
After this celebration, pilgrims will be bussed to East Yuna where they will walk approximately five kilometres to the McGauran Memorial site, which commemorates the location where Monsignor Hawes celebrated Mass for the first time for the early settlers of this area.
This site is now located on an arboretum on land donated for that purpose by deceased brother and sister Duncan and Jean McGauran. The Camino will finish here with a picnic among the splendid wildflowers of this area.
Any equipment brought along will be transported in a support vehicle and hot showers and toilets are available at both places.
To register for the Camino navigate to Camino Registration Form by Clicking Here