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Journeying Towards Hope: ANZAC Day Reflections on Sacred Pilgrimage

ANZAC Day Mark Yettica-Paulson

Hi folks,

In case you missed it, this is last Friday’s Reflection.

I found this reflection hard to write.

The theme I had planned for this reflection was Sacred Site as a Place of Pilgrimage and Friday was like a pilgrimage on its own. It was full of frustration, doubt, confidence, hope, tough conversations, and breakthroughs.

The idea of pilgrimage is to embark on a journey of purpose (sometimes with a religious or spiritual intent) that will bring you to a place (usually a sacred place). The pilgrimage is not just about the devotion for the place or the stories and ceremony at that place. The pilgrimage is also about the journey. It is expected that we face barriers, obstacles, highs and lows on our way, but our purpose to arrive overrides our thoughts of giving up.

ANZAC Day: Honouring Ancestors, sacred rituals and embracing hope.

My great grandfather, Trooper Frank Fisher, Indigenous Serviceman Private. 11th Light Horse Regiment.
My great grandfather Trooper Frank Fisher. 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment. WW1

In this coming week Australians will stop to commemorate our people who have fought in wars. We will stop to reflect. We will stop and be silent. We will be in ceremony together.

On this ANZAC Day, I encourage you to notice the use of sacred sites. People will gather at sites and conduct ceremonies to connect ourselves to those who have gone before us.

We will do this in a way that calls for deep respect and honourable behaviour. These are ceremonies to connect us to our ancestors.

I encourage you to notice the stories that are told to keep the memory alive for current generations and those who are not directly connected. There will be stories that seek to strengthen a national sacred loyalty story.

ANZAC Day can teach us that journey matters. The pilgrimage to sacred sites is as old as human beings, and we will see many forms of this.

ANZAC Day can teach us that we value sacred sites. The places where we gather to participate in ceremony are places, we regard as special and set apart. They are our sacred sites.

ANZAC Day can teach us that we value our ancestors. We will tell stories of people from our past that we claim connection with and belonging to.

ANZAC Day can teach us that ceremony is not just looking back. While we pause to remember the past, we are provided with the chance to connect meaningfully with our present, and we are offered the opportunity to hope for the future.

Navigating Life's Journey with Purpose

Our national story is full of frustration, doubt, confidence, hope, tough conversations, and breakthroughs. Using concepts of Sacred Sites as a place of pilgrimage can offer a way to journey to a place this week, pause to remember the past, connect with the present, and set hope, intention, and purpose for our future.

Be encouraged and encourage others.

Mark Yettica-Paulson