On Friday 29 September, a group of seventeen students and staff from SBSJ went to Walsingham in East Anglia to take part in this year’s Diocese of Leeds Walsingham Pilgrimage. Travelling through torrential rain on our way, we arrived at a dry campsite and put up our tents in record time.
We then travelled the short distance into Walsingham village for a look round; visiting the National Catholic Shrine of Our Lady before visiting the Anglican Shrine wherewe joined in Evening Prayer. A Fish and Chip supper near to our campsite was followed by a social time and a ‘Camp Fire’ sing-song with a difference (the difference being that we did not have a fire!). A long cold night was followed by a sunny Saturday morning – all were breakfasted, packed lunches made and all tents down and packed away by 10am.
After Morning Prayer, we departed for Walsingham where we prepared for the Pilgrimage Mass with Bishop Marcus.
At the Walsingham Pilgrimage Mass, our school group was fully represented, having the following roles in mass:
We had one Altar Server, six Bidding Prayer readers, three presenting the gifts at the Offertory and six of our group taking the Collection.
After Mass we then took part in the Pilgrimage Processional walk from the Catholic Shrine towards the ancient Abbey ruins in Walsingham Village. Our students had the honour of carrying the Processional Cross and also taking their turn to carrying the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in this procession. Once the procession had finished the whole diocese congregated in the sunshine in the Walsingham Abbey grounds for service of Benediction, during which we received our pilgrimage blessing.
The pilgrimage was over and all that was left to do now was to return home. Leaving Walsingham the weather deteriorated and we had to drive through rain again – but no worries – we had experiences an excellent pilgrimage with some excellent students and staff who ‘did our school proud’!
Our 2017 pilgrimage to the English Shrine of Our Lady, England’s Nazareth was a total success.
Report by Mr C Copley, Lay Chaplain SBSJ
Photos by Mr T Walker, Teacher SBSJ