This is the text of an email I just sent to those who registered for The Way of Stella Maris 2020.
Dear Pilgrims of The Way of Stella Maris,
I hope this email finds you well as we are under a week from the beginning. Yes, it's the beginning of your pilgrimage following The Way of Stella Maris, but take some time to consider that you have been on a pilgrimage through this wonderful but wounded world since your life began. Settle into the beauty of this week, make time to pray and be prepared to receive unexpected graces along the way.
I have lots to cover in this email. If you have any questions please send me an email and I will get back to you asap. Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our plans, and our pivot to this format could not have been possible without the incredible work done over the past few weeks by Ainslea Cardinal, Dave Cardinal and Arlene Sibley. Their dedication to helping enable the best possible pilgrimage experience has been tremendous. We have not run a pilgrimage in the midst of a pandemic before so if we end up working out issues along the way please help us understand how we can help work through it together. We have thirty registered pilgrims. There are two options for this pilgrimage: Option 1 is for those who live within driving distance of the previously planned route from Middle Musquodoboit to Halifax. Pilgrims who choose this option MUST ORGANIZE A WAY TO GET TO AND FROM THE TRAIL EACH DAY. I need to emphasize this because we cannot provide transportation to the trailhead each day or from the end point back to the trailhead. Each pilgrim must sort out their daily transportation requirements. Option 2 is for those who have elected to complete a home-based pilgrimage. I know some pilgrims are walking a similar distance as the Option 1 pilgrims each day, and some are walking significantly shorter distances but will be making a home-based spiritual retreat. This is wonderful and each pilgrim, regardless of option, is most welcome! If your walking route is around your living room coffee table and you are committed to the discipline of this prayerful retreat you are most welcome! I guess that's one of the graces of the COVID-19 impact on this retreat, that we are able to offer a home-based option for folks who can't walk the actual route each day. To download two important Word documents concerning the route details and daily routine for 2020, please click go to the following link and then click on the red buttons on the left of the page: https://www.thewayofstellamaris.com/2020-plan Please click on the link below to download a copy of the pilgrim's guide. Whether you are an Option 1 or Option 2 pilgrim, you will need this guide to follow along the prayerful, guided rhythm of the pilgrimage: https://9fe020a9-2c77-49e5-b057-b6b8780a80bd.filesusr.com/ugd/5e80fa_8fe9b9ecd0564c538871b8a08dd1cbe6.pdf The guide indicates that you may attend the Mass at the end of the pilgrimage at Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Halifax. Sadly, due to COVID-19 that is not the case. I will explain more when we meet over Zoom. On the last day of the pilgrimage, August 15th, any pilgrim who can come is welcome to join us in front of the cathedral for a group picture. Again, more details to follow over Zoom when the day gets closer. Please keep Patrick Salah in you payers. He will be ordained a deacon on Aug 15th at Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica at noon! To receive a link for our daily Zoom calls, please email us at: email@example.com Our first Zoom meeting together will be Sunday, August 9th at 7:00pm. August 9th is not a day of walking, it's a day of prayerful preparation for your pilgrimage, the walking begins on August 10th. For Option 1 pilgrims, please bring your MSI card with you. I will bring a form to record your MSI number as well as an emergency contact person in case we need to bring you to the hospital. Please remember this important detail that I hope we never have to use! Finally, but importantly, please remember the purpose of The Way of Stella Maris is to pray for one another and for our beloved local church. If you have any specific prayer intentions please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org and our prayer team will persistently bring your intention before God. I think that's it for now. Please email us if you have any questions: email@example.com
Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. - Jeremiah 6:16 Please pray for one another, Rob Elford Deacon Pilgrimage Coordinator