THE CANTERBURY TALE
For those of you who did not take part, yet another successful pilgrimage has been notched up. Although the numbers were larger than ever before (over 100 at one stage), the old pilgrimage spirit established itself even on our first days walk across the glorious South Downs. Mena Seguro got this nice little account published in her parish newsletter, which I am now reproducing without either her or Peter Madden’s permission:-
A most fulfilling stretch in our walk through life - Brighton to Canterbury, with Mass in Canterbury Cathedral, and prayers at one of the most important English Pilgrim Shrines the shrine of Thomas a Becket - and back to Arundel.
We walked through fields of golden wheat, tall and strong and dancing with the wind. Through orchards heavy with apples and pears, too tempting to resist one. Along the beautiful sunny East Sussex coastline via the Seven Sisters. We even had our share of rain and mud too.
We prayed during the day, stopping at churches of all shapes and sizes, and we talked to everyone we met. We slept the nights away in anything from a church-barn to a classroom. The local parishioners showed us true Christianity and love; as they could not join us they offered us baths; in one place we were given beds for the night. The lovely meals were prepared by a wonderful team, whose afternoon stop cuppas were a real welcome.
It was a walk full of experiences of this life. It was my first pilgrimage and now I know how true the experiences of these days were, because now I feel more able to make my pilgrimage through life.
To all of you who have taken part in any of the pilgrimages, an invitation is enclosed from Eddie Collard to the Pilgrimage Reunion at Caterham on the week-end of l7th—l3th November. This is a very happy choice of venue, as on several of our past pilgrimages we have slept in the old parish centre, and now in the 100th year since the opening of the Caterham church they have built the new Sacred Heart Centenary Hall, where we will be sleeping, and where the reunion will be based. I do hope you will he able to come. But do please note that past pilgrims now number about 250, and we must ask you to reply by 31st October, and not just turn up unexpected.
His invitation to us to make a pilgrimage to Buckfast Abbey has been reaffirmed by the Abbot, so I am now searching for halls along the route. The route we are trying for follows the South Downs to Winchester and then via the New Forest, and Dorchester to the coast. Then we would follow the Dorset and South Devon Coastal Paths to Exmouth. Finally we would head inland and over the edge of Dartmoor to Buckfast Abbey. To fit in all that we would want to do we will need 17 days, and so I propose to follow the same plan as we used on the Walsingham Pilgrimage, beginning on a Saturday and ending on Bank Holiday Monday, thus fitting 17 days into a fortnight, and giving some of us a week to recover before returning to school!
Our most urgent need is to find a catering and transport team to come with us. Will YOU help us please to find one? Maybe some older pilgrims would rather drive and cook this year? Maybe you could persuade your parents or friends to help? We want people who would enjoy and enter into the pilgrimage spirit, but who would rather not do the actual walking. Please think hard who YOU know, and approach them soon, and let me know if you get a positive response. Obviously all our plans depend on finding such a team.
Some pilgrims went on the first Maryvale Youth Weekend organised by our Diocesan Youth Commission. It was extremely enjoyable and spiritually rewarding, and captured something very akin to the pilgrimage spirit. Another Youth Weekend is planned very soon on 19th 21st October. Do go, if you count yourself as a young person over 17 - you are sure to enjoy it. An application form is enclosed.
COME ALIVE AT LIVERPOOL
A great rally of young people from all over the country to be held in Liverpool on Saturday 6th January is being planned by the Catholic Association of Young Adults. We hope to fill at least two coaches from the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. We will leave on Friday evening, sleep on the cathedral crypt floor on Friday and Saturday nights, and travel back on the Sunday. It should be a great weekend, and will only cost £10. Bookings have got to be in early; so do write off to Father Pat Olivier right away. This and the Maryvale application form are together.
EASTER IN LAKELAND
For the last two years some pilgrims and other friends have met up at Easter time to go and climb some mountains. The good company, the pilgrimage spirit, and the beauty of the mountains, have combined to give two marvellous holidays. Why not join us next Easter in the Lake District? (It has to be more, expensive this year, due mainly to the sad demise of the Snoopy bus - see last edition of this newsletter.)
SOUTH DOWNS WAY SPONSORED WALK
To raise money to take sick pilgrims to Lourdes Moira Stephens is organising a sponsored walk along the South Downs Way. The dates planned are Friday 28th March to Tuesday 1st April. Moira plans to stay in Youth Hostels, and must limit numbers to 20. (A much better plan than Moggy’s usual walk, every month or so, courting death on the Brighton to London road!) Do join her if you can in what should be a most enjoyable walk for an excellent cause.
MARK AND MARY'S WEDDING
On a beautifully sunny day in September Mark Yeomans and Mary Marsh-Collis were married at St Dunstan’s Church, Woking. Imelda Marsh-Collis and Sarah Yeomans (P2) were the bridesmaids, and George Evans was the Second Best Man (an original office designed to keep Imelda company on the way out.) Although Mark and Mary didn’t actually first meet on a pilgrimage, their friendship certainly blossomed on Pilgrimage Two. They are now living in Faversham, and I am sure we all wish them every blessing for a lifetime of married happiness together.
Just before the Canterbury Pilgrimage, another ex-pilgrim was married. Thea MacKnight (P1) was married to David Bull at the Church of St Charles Borromeo, Weybridge, on another lovely day. At both weddings, several pilgrims were present to represent “our large family”.
And another pilgrim engagement has just been announced: Paul Simons and Sheila Philip-Smith, Those who walked the Pilgrims Way in the long hot summer of 1976 will ever remember them for meeting us so frequently and faithfully with their life-saving water-wagon.
There was a great gathering of pilgrims at this year’s Youthgather, which many voted the happiest yet. The sun shone brightly all day, but a pleasant wind cooled the thousands of walkers, as they wound their way along a most beautiful route through Arundel Park, over the South Downs, and along the Arun valley.
Father Hans Burgman (P1&2) last wrote from his Kenyan mission in July. He says, “Once again there is a lot of good new at Pandipieri. There has been tremendous satisfaction, after so many years of planning to begin our community in this shanty-town area of Kisumu. We live in a small house with three rooms, a store which also serves as a visitors room, and a kitchen. I had to buy furniture for the empty house from local craftsmen. The catechist’s wife cooks for us, the local Luo menu. That means thin maize porridge in the morning, thick maize porridge in the afternoon with vegetables (or meat about once a week) and in the evening soup (of peas or brown beans) and bread and tea. We have been accepted well by the people.” He thanks all those who have sustained them with mail and funds, of which he needs £75 a week, and so “eagerly welcomes generous supporters of our apostolic venture.” His address is Pandipieri Centre, P.O.Box 795, Kisumu, Kenya. Financial help should be sent to: “Pilgrims in Africa”, Financial Secretary, St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, NW7 4JX.
A PILGRIM'S DIARY
October 19 - 21 Maryvale Youth Weekend.
October 31 Last date by which to apply for the Pilgrimage Reunion, and also for the CAYA Week-end in Liverpool.
November 17 - 18 Pilgrimage Reunion at Caterham.
January 5 - 7 “Come Alive” National Youth Rally at Liverpool Cathedral.
January 10 Last date to book for the Easter Lake District Holiday.
Jan. or Feb. Buckfast Pilgrimage literature will be circulated.
Mar 28 - April 1 South Downs Way Sponsored Walk for Lourdes Pilgrims.
April 7 - 13 Lake District Holiday.
August 9-25 Probable dates for the Buckfast Pilgrimage.