The pilgrimage is the Community’s Way of Peace event for 2013. It also marks the fifteenth anniversary of the first WCCM pilgrimage to India, which initiated the Way of Peace programme. This is a memory and inspiration cherished by His Holiness the Dalai Lama who recently wrote: “In 1998 I joined as historic pilgrimage of practitioners of both the Christian and Buddhist traditions in prayers, meditation and dialogue in Bodhgaya … Each morning under the Bodhi tree, we all sat together and meditated, which I think was historic.”
The highlight of the 2013 pilgrimage was a full day of dialogue, prayer and meditation led by His Holiness and Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB, on Saturday January 12 in Sarnath where Lord Buddha gave his first teaching, thus setting the ‘dharma wheel’ in motion.
The WCCM’s pilgrims to India visited Kolkata, Bodhgaya, the most important of all Buddhist pilgrimage sites, were the pilgrim' sat under the Bodhi tree of the Buddha’s enlightenment, and visited to the nearby Mahakala cave, site of the Buddha’s pre-enlightenment asceticism.
A visit to Varanasi, the city of Lord Shiva on the banks of the sacred river Ganga, Kathmandu (a UNESCO world heritage site) in Nepal, and visited the sacred stupas of Swayambunath, and Boudhnath.
The group later flew into Mumbai and visited the important caves of Elephanta. The next day they visited Dharavi the second largest slum in Asia after which in the evening they visited the Basilica of Mount Mary, Bandra, Mumbai and later on to kripa Foundation, India’s largest NGO, for treatment of addiction and HIV care.
At Kripa they were delighted to meet Fr. Joe H Pereira Founder Managing Trustee of kripa Foundation and WCCM- India National Co-ordinator. Fr. Joe introduced them to his work and his team.As the group could visit Kripa Dharavi due to time restrain ,the children came of Kripa Dhravai came over to Kripa Bandra and entertained the group with a dance and poem, A young teen shared his experience of recovery from drug addiction which was very moving. Later the group led by Fr. Joe sat in WCCM meditation along with the WCCM group of Mount Carmel Church and Kripa Foundation.
The evening ended with a sumptous dinner prepared by the in-house catering team. It was indeed a memorial visit to all who attened the programme at Kripa Foundation, Mumbai.