On 17-18 October 2021 in Péliföldszentkereszt, Hungary, took place the Dissemination Event of Work Package 7 “Natural Heritage on the Ways of Mary”.
The meeting was an important opportunity to present to local stakeholders potential and goals for the development of Mária Út (also known as the Way of Holy Mary, or Via Mariae).
This spiritual path was used since the Middle Ages and allowed pilgrims on their way to Csíksomlyó visit numerous sites of cultural heritage. The path makes part of the rurAllure pilot focused on natural heritage along pilgrimage routes, which offers ideal possibilities for inward-looking yet studying the earth of prehistoric times, its current flora and fauna and activities of preserving it.
“The Péliföldszentkereszt section of the Way of Mary has been an ideal location to admire the vegetation, geological formations and autumn landscape – as Veronika Szabó coordinator from Mária Út Egyesület / Association of the Way of Mary commented – and we could learn more about the importance of “ecological conversion” at the Salesian exhibition of the Gerecse Nature Park Visitor Center. We drew our attention to a pilgrimage organized as part of the meeting programme. Also, 6 young volunteers embarked on a 3-month mission to Africa and India after receiving the blessing of the Salesian Provincial: this offered us the opportunity to look into the missionary work of the Salesians. During the last day of the meeting, we organized a regional stakeholder meeting for rurAllure partners. It was attended by representatives of church organizations, tourism professionals, local government leaders, forestry and nature conservation professionals, and representatives of cultural centers of the region.
Our common goal has been to assess the spiritual and tourism potential of pilgrimage in the region and the Way of Mary, in particular, to evaluate how well the attractions identified by rurAllure match local needs. We want pilgrimage in the area to become accessible to wider audiences.
We enjoyed the roundtable discussions, it all exemplifies that working together can be fruitful for all of us. Let’s continue on the road together!”
The focus on natural heritage for Maria Ut seeks to offer pilgrims a new perspective, integrating these smaller, relatively unknown rural sites into the cultural network along the European pilgrimage routes, increasing the numbers of visitors and contributing to the general prosperity of the affected regions.
The team aims to involve museums and other heritage sites from rural areas to join a technological platform that will match-make needs and interests of future pilgrims and local attractions, offering an all-encompassing experience for those interested in the natural heritage consisting of national parks, flora and fauna, caves, waterfalls, protected areas, botanical gardens located within a radius of 30 km from the pilgrimage route.
The aim is to build up a unified pilgrim’s way among the different religious traditions of Central Europe, and to create a network between these places: discover more details at this link.