A Packed Summer!

Published Categorised as News, President's Pen

Where do we start from?

It’s been a while since we last updated you with our news and we apologize! But so much has happened that at times it feels like there’s no time to even catch a breathe!

Local & Overseas Treks

Local Treks

With the onset of summer, we leave behind us the Saturday Walks (which will resume again under a fresh 2023/24 Itinerary in October 2023. However we will continue with some Wed Walks; these take place on Wednesday evenings. Please check the Calendar of events by clicking the “View Events Calendar” tab here, as some Weds may be skipped due to other, generally overseas, trekking activities. Where these are skipped on account of some of us being on treks overseas, John Darmanin may put in ad hoc ones which are generally advertised on XirCammini Group on Facebook.

Overseas Treks: Assisi, May – June 2023

Caminos in Portugal and Spain, Mar – Apr 2023

In the earlier news-piece we reported on the Caminos in Portugal and Spain which were very well received by the members. I’m pleased to note that the caminos have created a camaredarie that persists among the fellow-camminantes. in addition to the XirCammini-led groups we have also assisted the Oratorju Group led by Fr. Giovann Tabone MSSP, the Radju Maria Group with Fr. Antoine Borg, as spiritual director. Fr. Terence OSA and the Augustanian Youth will also shortly be leaving on their Camino. We bid them all a heartfelt, buen camino.

Via di San Francesco, Assisi, May – June 2023

The Assisi Camino was undertaken by XirCammini for the first time in 2023 and this was ably led by Fr. Walter Vassallo ofm. We walked from the Sanctuary of La Verna to Assisi. It was a period of intense physical exercise (some of the treks were relatively challenging), quiet / spiritual reflection for all, christian ministry for those who partook in the daily services and, overall, a great time of fellowship for all. This cammino will be repeated in the first fortnight of June 2024, also led by Fr Walter Vassallo ofm.

Overseas Treks: VaiColTrekking – June 2023

The Assisi trek was followed in June 2023 by a mesh-up of VaiColTrekking events in Sicily, Calabria and Basilicata to include trekking, canyon-trekking, acqua-trekking and white-water rafting all in one week. The result was a resounding success!

Overseas Treks: Remaining Places

Tochar Phadraig and Irish Hiking, Aug, 14- 21 2023

The remaining overseas treks for 2023 are the Tochar Phadriag and Irish Hiking which will run twice this August.

We have a space for just one lady (in twin room sharing) on the 14th – 21st Aug Irish treks on account of one person having had to drop out. The airline tickets are relatively expensive now, but to mitigate this, one can opt for a change in name on the ticket purchased earlier at a lower price by the person dropping out. Anyone who is interested please contact us on +356 79046942 or information@XirCammini.org. These are the highlights of the 14th – 21st Aug programme for anyone interested in taking this 1 remaining place:

14th Aug: Meeting at Malta International Airport at 08:45 a.m. for our departure to Dublin and from Dublin we then transfer by coach to County Mayo on the West of Ireland.

15th Aug: We trek the cliffs of Moher from Lisconnor to Dolinn. (18km).

16th Aug and 17th Aug: Tochar Phadriag (County Mayo, Camino of St Patrick): 2 days from Ballintuber Abbey to the viking village of Aughagower and a Bronze Age settlement to the “Reek” o Croagh Phadriag (Mount St. Patrick). We will be climbing the Reek.

18th Aug : Trekking to Church Island, Lough Cara (lake Cara) and a tour of Ballintubber. We will have an opportunity to celebrate mass in the mediaval hermitage chapel of Church Island on Lough Cara. For the brave at heart you may attempt to swim in the ice-cold lake (or at least wet your feet!)

19th Aug : Trekking the MÁM ÉAN Maumturk mountains pilgrimage in Connemara (County Galway). This is a particularly emotive walk because we would be walking back in time to the ‘penal’ era when people where imprisoned for being Catholic and priests hung for the crime of being priests. We will have an opportunity to celebrate mass on an Altar Rock from the penal era.

20th Aug: Trekking in Achill Island  region in the Northwest of the Republic of Ireland in incredibly scenic surroundings. We are still making inquiries where best to celebrate mass on the day.

21st Aug: 00:30: Coach transfer to Dublin Airport. (3hr transfer)

Transumanza, 6 – 10 Sept 2023

There are still a few places available on this trek. Those of you that are interested please book following this link. The cost is Euros 600 and covers local transport (not air transport), food and accommodation from the 6th to the 10th of September.

Camino San Salvador, Spain, Sept 2023

This event is fully booked.

Other News & Events

Gratitude: Malta Tourism Authority

We want to thank the Faith Tourism Unit and the Malta Tourism Authority for their unflinching support to faith tourism in general and to XirCammini in particular. This summer we will also start fixing the Camino Maltés and Camino Mariae Melitensis signs and bollards:

We would not have gone so far in, relatively, such a short time without your guidance, physical and financial assistance. Thank you. This is a video clip on the Maltese camminos by Aleteia who were commissioned by Malta Tourism Authority:

Unveiling of the Camino Hito

We also want to thank The Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs and Trade – and in particular – H.E. Daniel Azzopardi, Maltese Ambassador to Spain, for his commitment to putting Malta on the Camino de Santiago map. A special word of thanks also goes to Heritage Malta and local councils (and their regional associations) and the Maltese Curia. The Camino Maltés has throughly been a collaborative effort. On 25th July 2023, the Government of Malta will be unveiling a hito gifted by the government of Spain to Malta on the occassion of the establishment of the Camino Maltés. Does who wish to join us on this uaspicious event – followed by drinks in Fort St Angelo, please write to maltaembassy.madrid@gov.mt

Pasta Night | Get-together, 7th Aug, 2023

Come and join us for a Pasta Night at Kristu Rxoxt Parish, Pembroke. This would be an opportunity for XirCammini members, their families and friends to get together. More information is available on this link. If you would like to join us please click going and, before the end of July, we’ll follow up with all thousse who showed interest.

We’ll probably also be using that evening to bless the shells and/or distribute teeshirts for the Irish Caminos and Camino San Salvador and for the Transumanza.

Affiliation with the Ramblers Association of Malta

We are pleased to announce that with effect from 1st July 2023, all XirCammini members are also, individually, affiliate members of the Ramblers Association of Malta and can also take part in their trekking events. There is no need for XirCammini members to register or pay for this, as XirCammini has contributed collectively to Ramblers Association of Malta collectively. More information about the Ramblers and their walks is available on their website.

Affiliation of Maltese trekking groups and endorsement of a common code of conduct is important so that we not only have a better standing / strong voice publicly but we also embrace a green code that continues to sustain the passtime that we all enjoy.

Famous last words?

We’re conscious that we still have to roll out the 2023/4 Itinerary. We are working on it taking your suggestions for overseas travel on board. In addition to camminos in Italy and Spain we are also looking at the Cammino di San Giacomo in Sicilia and Camminu Santu Jacu in Sardegna as continuation of the Camino Maltés, and also at, possibly, running Ireland again. the Camino of St Margaret (St. Andrew’s Way) from Edinburgh to St. Andrews in Scotland and the Sri Lanka trip that was so well-received a few years ago.

On a ‘housekeeping’ note, with the significant increase in XirCammini work, it is also imperative that there is some distribution of work and that we also introduce new blood at governance / steering level. Under-pinning all of this would need to be a sider volunteer effort to serve each other. We had intimated something to this effect in an earlier post. We plan to hold a meeting on this towards the end of summer or in early Q4-2023, prior to whic hwe would also distribute some thoughts and suggests to jog interest and discussion.

Please remember that XirCammini belongs (collectively) to all of us.

And as the Confraternity of St James in Perugia says, “Hip, hip Ultreya!” … the journey continues.