I have recently returned from the walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham, a distance of 55 miles, and it was a great experience. I should add that I only walked the final mile. My role was driving a support vehicle, which carried some of the baggage and was available to pick up anyone who could walk no further.
Over 30 young and not so young people walked the whole distance over three days. They prayed the rosary and sang hymns much of the time, and there were opportunities for confessions to be heard by Fr Rowe along the way.
It was a great occasion and even the rather wet, and sometimes stormy, weather did not dampen the spirits of the pilgrims. There was a sung Mass each day. On the Friday it was at 6am in the church of St Etheldreda before setting off from Ely, and on the Saturday, it was in in the chapel of Oxborough Hall. The Sunday Mass was at the shrine in Walsingham, and the walking pilgrims were joined by others who had travelled there by coach or car.
For me the high point was walking the Holy Mile into the village of Little Walsingham. Many, but not me, did this bearfoot. We carried a processional cross, and sang the Rosary and a Litany as we walked. The musical setting of the Ave Maria was new to me, and is apparently the one used on the Paris to Chartres pilgrimage. I found it very attractive and suitable for the occasion. People certainly joined in well.
The procession took us to the grounds of the former abbey which is the site of the original shrine.
Plans are now being made for next year, when we expect to have a bigger and better pilgrimage.
Oxford Pilgrimage 20th October 2018
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