Pilgrimage has become a very familiar experience to parishioners of the Holy Family Parish in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton as they have journeyed annually to either Rome, Assisi or Santiago de Compostela. During this May, Fr. Philip led the first Diocesan pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, travelling across the north of Spain for several days, to be joined by Bishop Mark and Monsignor Keith Mitchell at Ribadiso on the Camino Francés. The group journeyed together into Santiago for a special liturgy in the square in front of the Cathedral.
The theme of this year’s pilgrimage was ‘The Way, the Truth & the Life’ based on St. John’s Gospel (John 21) – a very apt title as the whole pilgrimage was spent covering the Way of St. James, crisscrossing several of the ancient and well trodden paths to Santiago. Many months of preparation went in before departure and the pilgrims met on several occasions to get to know each other, share meals together, spend time on retreat together and celebrate mass together. On the evening before departure, Bishop Mark came to Exmouth to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation in the parish and at the end of mass gave a Pilgrims Blessing to those about to embark on ‘The Way’.
The group came together from the Deaneries of Cornwall, Plymouth, Exeter and Dorset and were joined by pilgrims from the Dioceses of Clifton and the Archdiocese of Birmingham as well as from Singapore and Ireland. By the time the pilgrimage started the pilgrims were not strangers at all!
A review of the most memorable journey from each of the pilgrim groups (named after Spanish Saints) can be viewed and downloaded by clicking the image above. Our thanks to John Cooper-Hammond for compiling this for us.