MORE NEWS OF PILGRIMS (or Pilgrim Newsletter No 2)         JULY 1978

Abbreviations : P1 = Those who took part in the Easter 1 975 Holy Year Pilgrimage, beating the bounds of the Diocese.

P2 = The Pilgrims Way, 1976, via Winchester to Canterbury.

P3 = The Walsingham Pilgrimage, 1977.

P4 = Those booked to go on the Glastonbury Pilgrimage, 1973.


All comments about the first scandalous edition of this newsletter were, surprisingly, favourable. “A good idea” said Flo (Dominic O'Hara) (P3&4). "A delightful gossip column... a great way to keep in touch with all the fraternity, also a fine way to keep the feeling of togetherness alive. It’s very easy to think of us as a family” said Blob (Gabe Churchill) (P1,3&4). The loudest praise of all comes from one Mrs Sawyer who has never actually been on a pilgrimage, but says, "Just to read about then lifts the spirit and what a wonderful thing ... which goes snowballing on. I think it is the best thing that has happened to the Catholic Church - at any rate in England since Vat II.” Mrs Sawyer says she is going to join us for one day this year - I hope you won’t be too disappointed, Mrs Sawyer. Anyway here goes on a second edition of the newsletter.


The number of applications for the Glastonbury Pilgrimage this summer has out-stripped all expectations, and quite a number of people have had to be disappointed. We have got up to 100 people with us as far as Salisbury, and 30 beyond. Goodness knows how we arc going to cope, although Mike Roberts is manfully working out menus, and everyone along the route has been most helpful. In several places we will have to split the party to find sufficient sleeping room. I am sorry about those who have not got a place, or who can only come as far as Salisbury. I have worked on the principle of trying to spread the pilgrimage experience as far as possible, and so have given preference to new applicants over past pilgrims, which I hope people will understand.


A most enjoyable holiday was spent by 13 past pilgrims and friends in North Wales at Easter, in spite of mid-winter weather conditions. We climbed Cader Idris in near gale force winds, and Snowdon in sub-zero temperatures. The other peaks we climbed were Glyder Fawr, Carnedd Dafydd, and the Nantlle Ridge. Les and Helen Smith (P1) hosted a reunion at their Horley home in July.


The idea of a holiday for pilgrims at Easter seems to be becoming a regular feature, since the Lake District trip in 1977 and the above expedition. It has been suggested that we might be more adventurous (and expensive unfortunately) in 1979 and organise a 12 day youth hostelling and mountain walking holiday in Western Ireland next Easter. The idea would be to spend 2 nights in each of 5 centres walking or climbing and touring by minibus on alternate days. The centres could be Bantry Bay, Valencia Island, Mountshannon, Ben Lettery, and Killary Harbour. Travelling via Swansea—Cork the cost at 1973 prices would be £65, including all travel, ferries, hostels, food and insurance, but excluding cabins on the boats. We would have to allow for inflation before next years prices are announced. But are there twelve people willing and able to take part next Easter in such a scheme? Provisional dates would be Tuesday 17th April (in Easter week) to Saturday 28th April. If you are interested please write and say so now — if we can’t get 12 we will look for some mountains nearer home again


On Saturday 19th April, Mike Roberts and Theresa McLauchlan, the cook and driver of the WalsinghaPilgrimage, famed for inventing the now internationally notorious gastronomic delight "Luton Spaghetti", were married in Brighton. Congratulations to them both, and every good wish for the future. It is not true that Terry insists on doing all the cooking in their home, and a hundred happy pilgrims will shortly be enjoying their joint efforts.


Love is also blossoming in the hearts of Nick Parsons and Claire Brockman who met on the second pilgrimage and have this year announced their engagement. Claire is a medical student at Sheffield University, and about half way through her six-year course. Nick is a Community Service Volunteer at a children’s home in Leeds. Both will be walking to Glastonbury this summer.


Congratulations to Father David Russell (P2) who was ordained at St John the Baptist Church, Brighton, on Friday 31st March. He has now returned to the Beda College to complete his studies, and should be appointed to a parish in the Diocese in the near future.


Susan Martin (P1,2,3&4) has now completed her course at Southampton University and says she is really happy in her first social work placement with Woking Social Services. Could this explain why so many of the tramps who have called at the Presbytery door recently have said, "Can you help me please Father? I am trying to get to Woking" ? Or is it because Dominic O’Hara (P3&4) is doing similar work in Brighton?


Father Hans Burgman (P1 & 2) who is trying to implement the pilgrimage spirit in his missionary work in Africa says he is making good progress in his work in the slums of Kisumu, Kenya. He has established a solid circle of friends, he is financing the education of 15 children, a garden for the poor is growing vegetables, a women’s sowing club has begun, and he is considering organising the recycling of the street garbage. But meanwhile his Bishop has asked him to write a history of the Kisumu diocese, and from 13th April to 13th July he returned to Europe to interview those who had pioneered the work of the church in that area. Thus he was able to celebrate his Silver Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood in his hone town of Nengelo in Holland. Father Hans’ address is St Paul’s Catholic Church, P.O. Box 48, Kisumu, Kenya ; and financial contributions to his work can he sent to : "Pilgrims in The Financial Secretary, St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, NW7 4JX.


Jane Rex (P1,2,3 & 4) writes that she thinks the newsletter “is a fantastic idea for keeping long lost pilgrims in touch”. She is this year’s president of the Farnham Junior S.V.P., and has helped collect £2000 in the parish for a minibus. Maybe they can help us with transport on the Glastonbury Pilgrimage?


Mr and Mrs Nash (P3) are trying to get a small group together to walk the South Downs Way. It cost about £40 last time they did it. Anyone who is interested could write to them


Two very special services, of different sorts, are being laid on for the pilgrims this summer. We wanted to cross from Clarence Pier, Portsmouth, to Ryde Pier on Monday afternoon, but Sealink boats only sail from Clarence Pier in the morning. So they have agreed to put on a special service for us. Quarr Abbey on the island, where the Benedictine monastic community are famed for their singing of the Solesmes plainchant, usually sing their Conventual Mass at 8.45am. It would be impossible to walk there from Ryde at that tine, so they have kindly rescheduled their clay to celebrate Mass with the pilgrims at 10.30am.


Will Parker (P2&3) has just completed his first year at Bristol University reading Computer Science and Mathematics. But he has had to cancel his place on this year’ s pilgrimage.


Those who know Pat Burke (P1,2,3 & 4) will know that she has suffered from a painful knee condition, affectionately known as Mr Bump, since the Walsingham Pilgrimage. She came with us to Wales prepared to do no walking at all, but miraculously it gave her no trouble at all then, and only a little since. We all hope Mr Bump continues to behave himself, Pat!


It occurs to me that some pilgrims joining us for the first tine this year, and reaching this newsletter, may feel that they are joining a rather close and peculiar sort of clique. Don’t worry! (There are lots of things you might worry about but not that.) This year the numbers of new pilgrims roughly equals the number of those who have been before, not all of those know one another. One of the great things everybody has found about the pilgrimages is that that they make lots of new and wonderful friends.                 W. J .H.