Practical informations

How do I take part?
Registration acts as the starting point for the pilgrimage - Hidasnemeti, Hungary.

I don't speak Hungarian, Polish, is that a problem?
No, from personal experience I can guarantee that every pilgrim will do their best to make you feel welcome, especially if you don't speak Hungarian or Polish. A large number of pilgrims are capable of conversational English and after some initial shyness, will happily engage you. Remember that they are touched by you joining them in pilgrimage.

Food is plentiful. Is is a good idea to bring some of your own but Slovak and Poles are exceedingly generous and you may end up with multiple dinner invitations! Vans stocked with drinks, pastries and sausage rolls also cater for pilgrims along the route so for a few euro/zloty each day, you won't go hungry.

Do I have to be Catholic?
No, while prayers and songs are undoubtedly Catholic, everyone is welcome. We are all children of God.

What should I bring?
Tent, sleeping bag and mat
Adequate supply of socks
Large metal mug (for soup)
Sunscreen and hat
Raincoat (no umbrellas)
Basin (for washing)
Your national flag!
Friends (optional of course!)
Money to buy food and drinks (150PLN is sufficient)

The route of the pilgrimage is more or less 170 miles (daily walk of 16-17 miles), regardless of the rain or the sun. Piglrimage bypasess big cities; our way leads through some villages, forests, open fields. Night's lodging are schools or your own tent. Our bags and tents during the day are transported by the tracks. No smoking, no alcohol, no co-education, no drugs, no bath in the rivers, proper dress. Categorically do not use the candle-lights in your tents.

It is very important to have comfortable shoes and socks - forget about quite new ones. During the way you need small rucksack with food and drink for all day, a sunscreen cap, a spoon, a cup, a sweater; take also something against the rain (not umbrella!); basin, basic medicine. Don't forget your national flag :) A high number of pilgrims can speak English and German. Traditionally we call one another "sister" and "brother".

You just have to remember about few things. It is true, that pilgrimage is physically demanding, but most of all it is a spiritual experience. When you decide to take part in such event, you will - break the bonds with everyday life - experience the hardships of journey on foot - change your lifestyle The whole sense of these ten days is a very personal meeting with God and a deep internal change of each of the participants. That is why everyday we listen to the readings from the Holy Bible, we share with our own thoughts, listen to lectures and take part in prayer. The center of spiritual life of the Pilgrimage is the Holy Mass. At the end of each day, we meet on an evening prayer, which helps us sum up the day. It would be very hard to achieve our aim without the help of people, who meet and greet us on our path. Thanks to them we have lunch (usually hot soup and bread) and lots of stuff to drink. Although the organizers write in the Pilgrimage Statute, that they do not secure the food supply, there is always something to eat. That is why we always thank for what we are given. It is our moral duty, to thank those people, because they do it only due to their good will and not because they are paid for it.

Organization of the Pilgrimage

It is 275 km long (~170 miles), that is why everyday we have to cover a distance of around 30 km (~17 miles) in 5-6 stages on different types of roads, but usually on cart-roads, despite weather conditions. Everything we are given is a gift from our hosts. We cannot demand anything and should be most thankful for what we receive. We sleep in tents or barns (no coeds). Our luggage, which we usually have in a manageable backpack is transported on a truck. The most important for us is to be able to take the spirit of the Pilgrimage into our everyday life and live it till the next one.

When you sign up, you commit yourself to: - contributing in the formation of the religious character of the Pilgrimage through active participation in the Masses, evening prayer meetings, lectures and prayers - wearing your pilgrim's badge, which is an external sign of Your involvement - having your pilgrim's I.D. always at hand - maintaining a serious attitude toward this event, by acting in the spirit of sacrifice and renouncement - giving highest regard to all God's bounties, which we receive by the mediacy of other people ( we regard every piece of bread and good word from our hosts) - going only by marked roads, not to damage fields and meadows - complete resignation from smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages in any form and eating ice-cream - keeping a moderate style of clothes (no short or shirts without sleeves) - being subjected to any orders from the members of the Pilgrimage staff.

For a day on the Pilgrimage you should take a small comfortable backpack with: - some food and drink - mug (plastic one will be lighter) - raincoat/umrella - sweater (mornings can be very, very chilly) - second set of shoelaces - all medicines you need, in case you require permanent treatment - if you suffer from any terminal diseases you should always carry a note about them and the medicines you need - a cap or a hat (this is a must!) - comfortable and earlier checked shoes (walking in new shoes will cost you a lot of pain, since you are never sure if these shoes will do or not) - pocket version of New Testament (you can take your church booklets) - rosary - songbook

Remember that:
- there are no co-ed sleeping facilities
- you cannot be accompanied by your relatives, who would drive cars and assist you at evening camps, of course you are encouraged to take as many friends as possible as your pilgrimage companions
- you are not allowed to use any water reservoirs, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.
- It is forbidden to use candles in tents or hosts' surroundings
- we address each other with a warm "sister", "brother" and try not to change it into a casual phrase.

Try to smile as much as possible. That's the best way to help those, who suffer more.

Can you join us?
You can for sure :) We will welcome your and your fiends in our pilgrimage community :)

Need more info? Ask: (polish or english)
Fr. Andrzej Wasko, salvatorian

© 2014, Mercy Pilgrim