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Toowoomba parishioner walks the 1300km pilgrim trail to raise money for Missionaries of the Poor

Paul Lucas

Walk of prayer: Paul Lucas walking through the Swiss Alps on the Via Francigena.

PAUL Lucas from Sacred Heart parish, Toowoomba, has walked weary legs on a pilgrimage from France to Vatican City.

Mr Lucas, 67, walked the 1300km section of the Via Francigena in less than three months.

While he enjoyed the physical challenge of the pilgrimage, Mr Lucas said there were spiritual benefits as well.

“There are a lot of things that come to you as you walk,” he said.

“You realise that God is looking after us in all different little ways which most of the time we’re not aware of.”

Mr Lucas said he also gained an appreciation of the history of the Catholic faith from seeing all the paintings, sculptures, monasteries and churches along the way.

He started the pilgrimage on June 13 in Besancon, France, and finished on September 2 at St Peter’s Basilica, after taking a detour to attend World Youth Day in Poland.

At the end of the pilgrimage his wife, Beatrice, and daughter Catherine met him in Rome, where they attended the canonisation of St Teresa of Kolkata.

Mr Lucas said people in Europe respected pilgrims, and many drivers pulled up to thank him for doing the Via Francigena.

“They thank you for doing it because they know what it is,” he said.

“A pilgrimage is a prayer.

“All the walking, the conversations, the happy parts, the not-so-happy parts, whatever. 

“It is all given to God to do with what He will. 

“My hope is that the result of the pilgrimage will be graces flowing to many people.”

The pilgrimage was also a fundraiser, and the GoFundMe campaign linked to Mr Lucas’ travel blog raised $3500 for the Missionaries of the Poor.

To make a donation or read more about Mr Lucas’ pilgrimage, go to  

By Nancy Webb

Catholic Church Insurance

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