Some reflections from you people on  joining in the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage @ Home

2020 hasn’t been the best of years. School was cancelled, clubs were cancelled, shops were closed. Nearly everything stopped, but not our faith. 

And then the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage was cancelled with the Youth Pilgrimage @ Home as the new way to join in. But how could we possibly do Walsingham things at home? Well, at least we won’t have to queue for the showers…

We managed to recreate the youth pilgrimage at home in a few ways; games about packing bags and as if we were on the journey, making eggy bread for breakfast, eating rocky road and snacks after the virtual Holy Mile procession, walking our own miles of prayer and joining in lots of challenges. Sadly, we weren’t woken up by the bashing of saucepans, but we did change phone alarms and ringtones to CJM!

It was nice to see the people that we’d usually camp with during the week – via Zoom of course! We welcomed people who’d been going to the youth pilgrimage for years, and some whose first pilgrimage to Walsingham would have been this summer. We chatted about memories from previous years and did fun activities to remind us of the fun of the youth pilgrimage. After watching the videos, we talked about them together. Even the midst of a pandemic we could come together in faith and friendship. 

Each pilgrimage, the highlight is always the Wednesday night service. The atmosphere is indescribable. This year was no different. The Benediction was most definitely the best part of the Youth Pilgrimage @ Home. The atmosphere when watching was still as electric as previous years and that’s a very special thing. 

We have found ourselves feeling even closer to God but also to the people that we would have seen if we were camping in a muddy Norfolk field. Being able to come together and worship, whilst not being physically together was incredible. 

This year will definitely be a youth pilgrimage that we’ll never forget. It really reminded us of the amazing memories that we’ve made over the years, and how much we love attending the youth pilgrimage. We may not have been able to meet in Walsingham, but as Bishop Philip said, we can ‘live the spirit of Pilgrimage’. The message of; imitate Mary, hold Jesus up to the world and worship Him, is one that will stick with us and many other pilgrims for years to come.

The Shrine produced daily videos and these young people took part with sessions on Zoom to gather them together inbetween.