Sunday, 6 November 2016

A Special Year of Mercy Pilgrimage with Bishop Richard

L'Arche Community Shares the Word of God at Pilgrimage Mass
We were blessed to have a sunny day for our Pilgrimage. Groups for people with learning difficulties from all over the Diocese gathered in the Cathedral Centre on Sunday 23rd October for a shared picnic lunch. There was a great sense of excitement and anticipation. Groups had brought their banners and we distributed sticks with streamers to use on the pilgrimage walk.

Bishop Richard, Mgr. Tony Barry, and all the altar servers ably assisted by Graham Monet who was the MC, joined us in the Cathedral Centre for the Introductory Rite. We then walked as pilgrims with Bishop Richard to the Cathedral singing “We are walking in the light of God”. We gathered outside the Holy Door and Bishop Richard helped us to understand its importance. The first reading was powerfully proclaimed by the L’Arche group using a colourful banner they had made.

The Stars of Mary wrote and lead the Prayers of the Faithful and members of the Sense of Prayer Group brought up the Gifts. Richard from Hand In Hand carried the bowl of incense to the foot of the altar as a sign of our prayers rising to God. Throughout the Mass Lauren ‘signed’ to help everyone understand and access the liturgy, including learners from St Joseph’s Specialist School & College.

The Hand In Hand Group helped us to reflect after Holy Communion with the most beautiful and prayerful liturgical dance to the hymn “Bread of Life”. The music throughout the Mass and pilgrimage was joyful, prayerful and enabled everyone to take part. David Purcell (Head of R.E at St Joseph’s Specialist School & College) led the music and was our animator. Catherine Christmas (keyboard), Anne Ward (ukulele) and Cora Gillies (flute) provided music that was vibrant, joyful and prayerful.

After Mass it was time to go home - as we left the Cathedral Bishop Richard gave everyone a wrapped cupcake with the message “Thank you for walking with me on the Year of Mercy Pilgrimage. Have a safe journey home. Bishop Richard.” There was much hugging and waving as each group went on their way with everyone saying “Can we do it again next year?”

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