Friday, 25 August 2017

To be a pilgrim

September is around the corner, and for me that means it's pilgrimage time. As some will know, I have taken part every year since 1990, give or take a couple of years, in a pilgrimage in September. Israel, Rome, Fatima, Ireland, Poland, Assisi, Loreto etc etc - it's a long list. We strike a balance between the spiritual, focussed on our daily Mass where I try to develop a theme day to day to create a kind of retreat-on-wheels, and the holiday element, taking in all kinds of local sights.As the saying goes, we must be doing something right - we still get close on 40 people wanting to come! 
After 20 years or so of gallivanting (spelling??) around Europe and Israel, we thought last year we had better also check out the UK pilgrims' scene. So we went to Norfolk, visiting obviously the venerable shrine at Walsingham (the Slipper Chapel left), and taking in other experiences such as the church/hermitage of Julian of Norwich, Mass at the University Chaplaincy at Cambridge, and afternoon at Holkham Hall and a few hours at sunny and quaint Wells-next-the-Sea.
So this year - next Friday - we are heading off to North Wales, where Holywell, shrine of St
Winefride (right), is close to Pantasaph, retreat centre of the Capuchin fathers and national shrine of St Pio of Pietralcina, better known as Padre Pio. We will be based at Llandudno, and take in Snowdonia, Anglesey and Portmeirion to the west, and to the east Chester and Liverpool, where I am looking forward to celebrating Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Cathedral.
No doubt, as always, the Lord will have some interesting experiences up his divine sleeve. Last year we were not able to have our own opening Mass at Norwich, but joined the parish Mass. I had a quick moan to the Lord, suggesting he find a little spot later in the day for us to mark the beginning of our pilgrimage. When we got to the church of Julian of Norwich (left) in the afternoon, lo and behold, it was completely empty. I was able to speak, and we were able to reflect and pray, setting the scene for the days ahead, helped by some of her thoughts.
God is good - or as Julian would say "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

1 comment:

  1. I hope you all have a wonderful trip. I look forward to joining the pilgrimage virtually via your blog