Youth Pilgrimage 2007
On 6th August 2007 a small group, of Fr David, Paul and Carol, from St. Michael and All Angels, Abbey Wood journeyed to Walsingham. We joined up with groups from St. Augustine’s, Belvedere and St. Mary the Virgin, Swanley. We arrived at the site at 2.30 pm and were surprised to find that many pilgrims had already got their sites set up. We put up our tents.
The opening service was at 7.30 pm; it was here we were disgusted to find that Bishop Lyndsay was not staying in a tent. It was also at this service that we met members of the ministry team. After the service there was a barbeque and a disco.
The next morning a large number of pilgrims were queuing for the showers at 5.30am! For breakfast our group had a healthy meal of bacon sandwiches. At 9 am most of our group went to the bible study which was given by Bishop Lyndsay, as one pilgrim mentioned you could hear a pin drop and a priest commented that he would like to pull that number of people to his bible studies, such was the number of people there. The bible study was about Pentecost, where I was upset that my favourite verse “indeed these are not drunk as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning” was not present in the reading. We celebrated our first Mass at 10.30 that morning, of which the theme was Pentecost. That afternoon our group went to Wells where we had fish and chips, and some of us took a walk along the sea front. After supper we walked down to the Roman Catholic shrine where we gathered to walk the Holy mile barefoot, we were given glow sticks this year instead of candles. As we walked we sang songs, not necessarily in time with each other and not necessarily in tune, everyone doing their own thing. When we got to the Anglican shrine we had Benediction.
On Wednesday the queue for the showers was non-existent. After another healthy breakfast of bacon sandwiches some of us went to the bible studies again. The theme was the gift of healing where Peter and John healed a lame at the Beautiful Gate. During this bible study Bishop Lyndsay called on all the young people present to stop relying on their parents for the collection, and put their own money in. The Bishop also said that it was disgraceful, in this day and age, that some people still only put £1 in the collection plate every week. We had mass at 10.30 and the theme was the same as the bible study. After lunch there were various workshops for the young people to take part in, unfortunately the tour of a nearby farm, showing where meat comes from, had to be cancelled because of the foot and mouth outbreak. That evening, Bishop Lyndsay joined us for dinner, which was a very posh chicken in a honey and mustard sauce followed by strawberries and cream, which was quite nice. After dinner there was the late night liturgy at 8 pm. At the start of the liturgy there were various competitions, one of them was a limerick competition, which we entered, there were also Harry Potter look alike, the loudest snorer and the funkiest flip flop competitions. Later on in the evening bishop Lyndsay preached, and there was a sprinkling and a lying on of hands and anointing. Then an icon was brought to the altar for people to meditate on, and there were various things that could be done around the marquee to aid with meditation. There were also priests available to hear confession.
On Thursday, after breakfast (bacon rolls again) there was bible study, at which the reading was of the conversion of the eunuch on the Wilderness Road. Bishop Lyndsay told us to go and ask our parish priests what a eunuch was so, Fr Clive asked Fr James and we got a very graphic description, so if there are any queries as to what a eunuch is just ask Fr David. Then was the morning mass, during the reading Fr Philip gave a very accurate impression of a eunuch. After the mass there was a vocations workshop, 2 of the people from our group went, there were talks given by members of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England and various others about how God had called them to be where they are today. That afternoon we went to Hunstanton beach and the young people went on the amusement rides. That evening there was a karaoke, at which some of our young people performed “simply the best”. There was also a disco.
We were all up early Friday morning to find that the generators had packed in and there was no water for the showers and toilets. There was a break in the routine for breakfast; the bacon was running out. There was also no bible study as the service was at 9.30 in the morning. During the sermon a picture was put up on the screen showing Fr Philip coming out of the Ladies, which showed that things are not always as they seem, he had gone into the gents and a group of pilgrims had changed the signs. At the end of the service we thanked all the people who had made the pilgrimage possible. Those who got the loudest cheer, and a standing ovation where: CJM, our worship band, Bishop Lyndsay, and Fr Philip. After we had packed away our tents and equipment and had lunch, we departed from the youth pilgrimage at around 1.15 pm. a great time was had by all, especially on the drive home where we met bishop Lyndsay having a cheese burger at a burger van, proof that even bishops are human.
Written by Paul (aged 15)