Even though Covid-19 restrictions may prevent pilgrims from the United Kingdom taking part in the EAVF*’s celebratory Road to Rome relay march, the Confraternity can claim to have provided the equivalent of the Olympic torch for the event.
This is a pilgrim stick or staff and will be passed from pilgrim to pilgrim during the relay march Via Francigena ‘Road to Rome 2021’. The event celebrates both the EAVF foundation, which took place on 7 April 2001 in Fidenza, Italy, and the 27th anniversary of the recognition of the Via Francigena as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, granted in 1994.
The Road to Rome is a great moment of celebration, a long relay march on foot and by bicycle along as much of the 3200 km of the Via Francigena as restrictions then in force will allow. The walkers will carry the pilgrim stick passing it to the next group, step by step, along the entire journey.
CPR Chair, Carlo Laurenzi, on the left, and craftsman and pilgrim Michael Walsh on the right.
The hazel stick was sourced three years ago by veteran Irish pilgrim, Michael Walsh, near Holycross Abbey in Tipperary, Ireland. It has been seasoned, cleaned and prepared with more than ten coats of boiled linseed oil to get it ready for its journey.
The artwork was completed by a local artist Julie Helen Sharp and the cord grip was made by a stick maker Declan O’ Shea.
*EAVF – European Association of the Vie Francigene