A report from St Benet’s Kentish Town Gorge on this year’s Children’s Pilgrimage to Walsingham

A group from our confirmation class took part over the past weekend in the Walsingham Children’s Pilgrimage. We set off on Friday afternoon and arrived back on Sunday evening. We travelled jointly with a group of children from St Alban’s, Holborn, and we are very grateful to them for allowing us to share their coach. We had a wonderful time exploring what it meant to be “Star Trekkers”!  In other words, we were thinking about the story of the Epiphany, and what we can learn from the Wise Men who came to visit Jesus.  Just like them, we need to follow the way to Christ through life.  Mary acts as a star pointing the way to her Son.

What is the Children’s Pilgrimage?

Each year in Lent, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham organises a weekend pilgrimage intended for primary age children in Key Stage 2  (i.e 7-11 years old). The liturgies and activities are particularly suited to the worshiping needs of younger children as we have fun together and grow in faith. The whole Shrine is taken over by 300 children!

What did we get up to?

On our first evening we settled in to our rooms, and then gathered for a first liturgy in the Shrine Church.  We noticed the church had been turned back to front, so we could worship facing the Holy House.  After our first liturgy, we had hot chocolate and biscuits, and headed to bed. The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we made our way to Roman Catholic Shrine. There we began the Liturgy of the Word of our Mass, and then processed along the Holy Mile back to the Anglican Shrine, where we celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The wind and snow were pretty tricky to deal with, but we soldiered on and made it back in one piece! In the afternoon, there were lots of creative activities for us to do, including face painting. Unfortunately the cold and snow mean the plans for a bouncy castle had to be abandoned! In the evening, there was a disco in the pilgrim refectory presided over by a local children’s entertainer called Charlie Cheesecake. On Sunday morning, we had a Mass together in the Anglican Shrine, wolfed down a splendid roast lunch, returned for Benediction, and then headed home in the early afternoon.

For more information visit the Shrine’s Website www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk (Photos by Graham Howard).