Members’ News Update (Aug 2022)

Introduction

We are in the midst of our summer overseas trekking experiences with Amalfi, Via Jacobi and the Camino Primitivo behind us and the Tochar Phadriag and Isole Eiolie ahead of us.

Overall it has been a very rewarding experience in terms of friendships and social interaction and well-being, in addition to the obvious benefits of physical exercise.

We also continue to see growth in paid/registered members. This will help support our initiatives, particularly the Universal Peace Walk. We are also experiencing growth in our social media membership which means XirCammini continues to get noticed even internationally.

Local and Overseas Walks (Upcoming)

This is the link to upcoming events locally and overseas.

I wish to reiterate that – unless specifically listed as such – XirCammini events are only open to XirCammini members.

The following table is a summary of the events between now and October. More information will be provided shortly in respect of the Round Gozo where XirCammini has been requested to assist the Hospice Movement. XirCammini members are encouraged to participate and to donate:

Aug – Oct 2022 Itinerary

For those joining us on the Tochar Phadraig (from next weekend) or in the Eiolie Treks (Sept) and who have not yet collected their XirCammini teeshirts (and shells in the case of the Tochar) during the ‘Blessing of the Shells’ event, you still have a chance to do so during the walk of Wednesday 10th August. We hope to see you “Taht it-Tinda” in Buskett from where the walk will start at 19:00. I’ll be there early to distribute the teeshirts and shells. Thanks.

Camino Primitivo

For Tucc and I, the Camino Primitivo holds a special place in our heart.

It was during this Camino in 2018 that we became grandparents for the first time. It is also the Camino in which XirCammini was conceived. This time, 2022, a return to the Camino Primitivo has also provided a new “lamp to our feet and light to our path” in more ways than one. We hope to be able to share more exciting news shortly with members from initiatives started during this Camino.

A Camino is a microcosm of life and therefore not without its challenges, frustrations and heartaches. However this Camino has, above all, blessed us with several, very positive, experiences as we shared the Way with like-minded brothers and sisters.

We were particularly blessed with the often personal, emotionally or spitirually uplifting experiences that hikers shared along the walk.

It also helped reinforce the seminal believe that challenges make the journey more remarkable.

We also want to thank the group for the beautiful gift which, along with the titular icon of St. James painted by Tiziana last year, will be a valuable addition to the XirCammini chapel project when it materialises later on this year.

Tochar Phadraig

A return to County Clare and County Mayo is also one that has been on the books for a while.

We will be blessed with the addition of Irish Pilgrims who will join us on some of our walks.

The Cliffs of Moher, the Abbey, the Reek, the Chapel on Croagh Phadriag, Lough Carra … await us.

Teeshirts and XirCammini branded Outdoor Clothing

We have distributed teeshirts and caps for persons who have joined our overseas walks this year.

Many members have asked whether they can order more teeshirts, caps, gillets, etc. We will be organising a walk and a stop at the store for members to order (and pay in store) so that we submit a bulk order for printing.

More details on this to follow. It is likely to be on a Saturday afternoon in mid-October. We’ll provide a date shortly after confirming with the store an afternoon when they can make themselves available exclusively for us.

Universal Peace Walk Update

Work on the Universal Peace Walk continues. We will shortly be printing emblems and signs that need to be fixed to the waymarks. I will also shortly be contacting those who offered to donate some of their time.

We also had very productive meetings with the local councils at regional level and we will shortly be holding a pilot walk (Mdina to Zurrieq) with representatives of the local councils. The pilot walk will be open to members and non-members in order to further publicise this project. More information about the Universal Peace Walk is available here.

Once launched, we hope that this will be the first of many that brings in more faith tourism to the island and that puts Malta on the cultural hiking map of Europe.

Membership

As stated earlier, all existing memberships have been extended until December, when we will be issuing a renewal notice to all members. Therefore, we ask members not to send in membership fees until we tell you to. Those who have, we will adjust when we issue the notices. Between now and Dec we only expect fees from newly registered members.

Paid up/ registered members are approaching the 250 mark whereas social media members on the XirCammini Facebook community now exceed 1,200. Thank you.

Thank you

I conclude my thanking you all for your continued support. It’s your positive energy that sustains XirCammini. Thank you.

12th March 1543 AD: Universal Peace Walk

www.universalpeacewalk.mt

On the then feast of St. Gregory in 1543 Bishop Domenico Cubelles instituted a peace walk, Pro Pace Universali, at a time when Europe, the old world, was in the throes of war.

The cammino was from the old city, Mdina or Citta Notabile to the Southern most parish known as le Terre di Santa Caterina, or Casale Santa Caterina (current day Zejtun); a 28km procession.

There was an order of precedence to the procession. The Cathedral chapter stood at the back and the newest parish stood at the front. According to the 1436 Rollo de Mello, Malta had ten parishes being Naxxar, Birkirkara, Qormi, Bir Miftuh, Żebbug, Siġġiewi, Żejtun, Żurrieq, Hal Tartani and Mellieha. In addition to these parishes there were other populated areas with their churches and communities such as the inner harbour area, Rabat, Ghaxaq (a suburb of the terre di Santa Caterina) and Zabbar (the sub-parish of St. James which was also part of the Zejtun parish). Furthermore there were the confraternities of lay people, among them the one of Santa Maria (Attard) started during the reign of Bishop Giacomo Valquarena and the one of St. Joseph in Rabat which preceded that of Attard. There were also confraternities of friars most of whom had convents in or around Rabat. Malta, then also had Greek Christian churches. All of these took part on the Universal Peace Walk, all carrying their crosses and banners.

Guns were fired in Mdina signalling the start of the walk in the morning.

Giovanni Franceso Abela (1582–1655) writes about this Cammino in his book Della Descrittione Di Malta. The procession is again mentioned in 1847. By then the number of parishes had increased substantially and some were also elevated to collegiate churches which altered the order of precedence on this Cammino. Zerafa also mentions the hymns that were sung during the procession. Also, the structure of the Cammino changed with parishes meeting in Marsa and continuing towards Zejtun.

Later books, such as the 20th century autobiography of Ganado, Rajt Malta Tinbidel,  also mentions the procession. This once grand and historic Cammino, a part of Maltese heritage is being reintroduced by Maltese hiking NGO, XirCammini on its original anniversary date, 12th March. With the help of Malta Tourism Authority, XirCammini will be engaging with local councils enroute to instal permanent waymarks. A dedicated website with relevant information www.universalpeacewalk.mt has been rolled out in beta format.

More information is available from XirCammini (information@XirCammini.org)

Universal Peace Walk 1543

Some of you remember that we were planning to walk the Universal Peace Walk in March 2020 and had to postpone our plans due to Covid-19 and lock-down.

Work on this project continued unabated and – with the lifting of health measures we will be walking the Universal Peace Walk 1543 this year on the 12th March which happens to be its anniversary date

You can read more about the origins and significance of the Universal Peace Walk 1543 here.

Registration for the 2022 walk is now closed.

Local Walks Oct – Dec 2021 | Registration UPDATED 25th October 2021

As promised, we’ve put together the itinerary of local walks between now and the end of the year.

The table is included below.

We will have fortnightly weekend walks (alternating between Sunday morning and Saturday afternoon) and we will continue with our Wed Walks in the evening. These help us break the weekly work routine with a mid-week evening walk. We have also included some full-day walks (these are in bold in the table below):

With the gradual opening up of Covid measures we will not be maintaining a prior, online registration system.

The ones that require registration due to say transport accommodation etc. (Comino, Victoria Lines, Gozo or December overseas) are now closed.

Please check with the list above and turn up at the appointed place for a departure at the indicated time.

Please wear masks while waiting or stationery and also observe a 6-group cluster. Thanks.

We look forward to meeting all of you in some or all of the walks. Life’s a journey | keep smiling | keep walking | Keep safe | God bless.

A Call for Proposals and the SPED 2 Framework

XirCammini has contributed to the discussion called by the Government in relation to outdoor activities by submitting its proposals.

Today was the submission deadline.

Hiking is the most transient of outdoor pass-times that leaves the least negative impact on the environment and arguably provides the most physical, psychological, and social health and well-being results. A pass-time that is on the increase.

Our proposal focuses on three important pillars i.e. Engagement. Education and Enforcement, taking a holistic approach and involving the widest spectrum of stakeholders possible.

Our recommendations are within the framework of SPED 2 Rural Objective 2.

The following is a link to our proposal:

The Good Times will Return

“Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” Richard M. Nixon

2 Trips in 02 of 2020

Before Covid-19 hit we managed to undertake 2 overseas trekking trips in neighbouring Sicily – “bis-serqa” (stealthily) as the saying goes in Maltese – over the long weekends of the feast of San Paolo Naufrago and Carnival.

These are the photos – rolled out in a video – of the first of these trekking experiences: Medieval Sicily. A piece on the 2nd trip will follow.

Medieval Sicily Trek

During this hiking experience we visited Raddusa, Castello Gresti (or Castello Pietratagliata) in Aidone, Parco / riserva naturale Rossomanno- Grotta Scura- Bellia, Piazza Armerina and La Valle del Bove on Etna.

We stayed at Torre di Renda which used to be the Bishop’s seat in the 17th century, extending over 130,000 metres of woodlands and nestled in the Erean Mountains in central / south Sicily; waking up every morning to a spectacular sun-rise over the silhouette of Piazza Armerina and its magnificent cathedral.