This year's cross:
These pages now contain the diary of our 2007 pilgrimage. They also include the details "as planned" - which are not that different from "as executed" on this occasion.
The pages were written each day, and reflect the memory of the day at that time. We've not gone back and edited them, other than to clear a few typos. So, this is our pilgrimage...
I have added to Day 16 some drawings and a poem that John Sheehy gave me near the end of the pilgrimage, but which we didn't have the facilities to use at the time.
This year's diary is dedicated to the memory of Pat Olivier, who in the minutes before he collapsed and died was recounting how he followed the pilgrimage through the web diary, and encouraged us to keep it going, to reach to our pilgrim family and beyond. May he rest in peace.
As we continue our pilgrim journey in our daily lives, we remember Pat, Nicola and their family in our prayers.
For many of us, the pilgrimage was only suspended when we dispersed from Arundel on Sunday last. Today we reconvened, together with (literally) hundreds of Pat Olivier's friends and family, for his requiem mass at Knaphill, and gave him the send off he deserved.
Pilgrims arriving at the church in this year's t-shirts were greeted by Bishop Kieran with the words "I hope you've washed those t-shirts", for when we last saw him, straight from the trail, we were hot and dusty. Checked for cleanliness, we were admitted to the church - or to the church hall, where an equal number of worshippers were connected by a video link.
The service itself befitted the special man that Pat was. The service was celebrated by former parish priest Fr Martin Jakubas, concelebrated with dozens of other priests, with a homily by Bishop Kieran and a personal tribute by Fr Rob Esdaile, pilgrim chaplain in the late '90s. It was a celebration of his life, the joyful, uplifting liturgy of those who believe that death is not the end, but tinged with the sadness of farewell as we sang:
May the choirs of angels come to greet you,
May they speed you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in his mercy,
May you find eternal life.
Pat was carried out of the church to the sounds of "Walk in the light" before a private committal at Woking Crematorium.
For those left behind, there was food and drink in the church hall, and the opportunity to chat to other friends. A surprising number of pilgrims, past and present, appeared from corners of church and hall, including co-founders Bill Haynes and Bob Garrard. We shared our memories of Pat, and of pilgrimages together. Pat's family had prepared a number of displays of photos - each on a theme: childhood, priesthood, family life, holidays and pilgrimage. The last of these included pictures from this year's pilgrimage (lunch at The Buddle Inn and walking to Niton Baptist Church) and from other pilgrimages, including Lindisfarne (when he was our chaplain).
Lunchtime at The Buddle Inn
Walking to Niton Baptist Church
Liturgy planning at Wiggington in 1984.
Cooling feet near Ampleforth.
Refreshments at St John's Healey.
And so, Pat's pilgrimage is complete. And our's is over for this year: In 10 days' time we meet, to reflect and review, but equally to start the planning process for 2008.