Youth Pilgrimage 2010
On Monday 2nd August a group of young people from Abbey Wood, Gillingham and Swanley set off to the Walsingham youth pilgrimage held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. On the journey some of the younger members of the group were overly enthusiastic and sang rather annoying songs such as “the wheels on the bus go round and round”, mercifully they eventually became bored of this as we approached the camp site. After setting up our tents we had dinner (delicious fajitas cooked by Fr James) and then went to the first service, where we met the Ministry Team and received Sprinkling from the Well. The year’s theme was the Rosary, concentrating on the luminous mysteries: the baptism of Christ, the wedding at Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist. This was followed by a barbeque.
The next morning we had breakfast and then most of the
group went to bible Study which was led by Bishop Lindsay (The administrator of
the Shrine), the bible study was on The Wedding at Cana. Mass was held in the big marquee at
10:30. We had the afternoon free so we
went off to the seaside at Wells. That
evening the whole camp met at the Slipper Chapel in the Roman Catholic Shrine
to walk the holy-mile (which is really 1 ¼ miles) from the Slipper Chapel to the Anglican Shrine,
most of the group walked the holy-mile bare-footed. We were supposed to be singing songs from a
sheet of paper that we were given but there weren’t enough songs so each song
was sung at least twice and there was a (failed) effort to sing the Walsingham
Pilgrim Hymn (which has 36 verses) without the words in front of us. When we arrived at the Shrine benediction was
Wednesday started the same as Tuesday (breakfast followed
by bible study, today’s theme was the beatitudes, followed by mass). In the afternoon activities had been arranged
for the young people ranging from arts and crafts to martial arts. Our group made their “first visit” to the Shrine
and the Holy House, after which we wandered around the village before heading
back to the campsite to participate in the activities. Some of the members of our group had their
faces painted. That evening after dinner
there was a service in the big Marquee. As
we arrived we were all given a Rosary.
The first hour was given over to a “talent” show in which various groups
attempted to show their unique talents, these included dancing, rapping,
singing and 1 lady from Chichester Diocese who played the tune “blue Danube” by
blowing down a straw into her armpit.
One of the competitions which was held was to
see who could make the strangest Rosary.
One group made theirs out of trainers, another out of recycling
materials and another out of homemade fudge.
The serious part of the service included laying
on of hands, confession and anointing with holy oils and Exposition of the
Blessed Sacrament. After the end of the
service the “all night Rosary relay” began, in which the rosary was recited by different groups. A number of our group attempted to stay up
all night in the big marquee, some of us took our
sleeping bags into the marquee in order to be more comfortable. (One of our group was obviously so entranced
in the rosary that even when he fell asleep in the big Marquee he could be
heard reciting the rosary in his sleep).
In our attempt to stay awake some of us consumed an energy drink
cocktail (lucozade, relentless and a generic
stimulation drink), this did not help but did cause some of the group to behave
oddly, staring intensely at the door of the marquee, for example.
Thursday started the same as Wednesday and Tuesday
(breakfast, bible study, mass), today’s theme being the Transfiguration. In the bible study, Bishop Lindsay got off to
a good start by telling us that Mark is the first book in the New Testament, he
was quickly corrected by the young people and then tried to cover his mistake
by telling them he was going to say that it was the first book written. That afternoon we went to Hunstanton
beach. It was a bit cold, but not
wanting to complain our group pretended to sun-bathe anyway (referring to it as
“wind bathing”). After returning from the
beach we were amused to find a group from Southend attempting to get a frizbee down from a tree.
They spent a long time attempting before giving up. While clearing up from dinner we suddenly
heard the sound of an ambulance rushing down to the back of the field, followed
by 2 cars and a JCB, they had come to rescue the frizbee. Some members of our group took up the chant
“Save the tree, leave the frizbee”, but the frizbee was rescued anyway.
That evening we were forced by the leaders to go to the disco/ karaoke
in the big Marquee. We pretended to go,
but then walked off to the back of the field and stayed there until the disco
Friday was different from Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday
as there was no bible study and Mass started at 9.30 am, the Eucharist
being the theme. Mass lasted 3 hours as
many congratulations were extended to the people that had made the youth
pilgrimage a success. During the Mass
one young person from each group was asked to go up to represent taking up our groups needs. They
were each given a piece of dough to knead, after a while they returned it to a
tray where it could be made into bread.
The young people were by this time quiet sticky with dough, to which Bishop
Lindsay remarked that when we give something to God he always gives us
something back, even if it’s something we don’t want. At the end of the Mass the Rosaries which we
had been given on Wednesday evening were blessed and we were told to Pass them On. After
packing, the van set off on the journey home.
The journey began in high spirits with everyone on the minibus singing
the Walsingham hymn (all 36 verses of it).
However, due to a lorry fire at the Dartford Bridge the M25 was held up
and so a journey that only took 3 hrs going to Walsingham took 6 hours
coming back. A good time was enjoyed by
By Paul and Peter