“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

1 Peter 3:18

On the morning of Saturday the 2nd of November, the youth of Saint Mary’s Mays Hill commenced the 2019 Pilgrim Walk. Our destination was the Parish of Sts. Michael and Gabriel in Ryde, who we commemorate this week. The theme of the walk was sacrifice and suffering – and despite a weather forecast of over 30 degrees, we were all eager to begin our communal journey of joy and love.

Our first stop was the Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Forerunner in Parramatta, where we were graciously welcomed by Fr. Dimitri Kokkinos. We were blessed to join him in a short prayer, and humbled to listen to his words of wisdom. Fr. Dimitri shared that being close to the Church not only leads to the Kingdom of Heaven, but also makes our life on earth beautiful. Even in suffering, closeness to the Church and a prayerful attitude can provide inner peace.

The walk was arduous, and the 33 degree and humid day should have demotivated us, though the beautiful river breeze, and the anticipation of arriving at our destination strengthened us. When we started to struggle, we remembered the theme of “Suffering” which strengthened us, knowing that the labours were for spiritual reward. It was an impressive site to see 50 matching ‘t-shirted’ people marching through Parramatta, along the Parramatta River, Olympic Park, Rhodes, and Ryde!

During the final part of our journey, particularly as we approached the Parish of Sts. Michael and Gabriel, our spirits were elated and our fatigue extinguished. Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted by his Eminence Metropolitan Basilios as well as Fr. George, Fr. Michal and members of the SMG community. Together we celebrated the Vespers service – we felt particularly honoured to be a part of this service at Sts. Michael and Gabriel, as we will be celebrating the Feast of the Archangels later this week.

To conclude, we were blessed to hear a few words from his Eminence Metropolitan Basilios. He expressed his view on the significance of the 2019 Pilgrim Walk, and provided a profound message about the theme of sacrifice and suffering. His Eminence shared that although we may encounter challenges during our journey to Christ, the spiritual disciplines of fasting, prayer and alms giving enable us to overcome suffering and reach unity with Christ.

We hope you will join our future Pilgrim Walks!