@ChichesterDio @StWilfsChi Walsingham Children's Pilgrimage 2015
The trip is for all children aged seven to 11 iIt will take place from Friday, March 6, to Sunday, March 8, next year.
Our diocese trip leaves at 9am on the Friday and returns at about 7pm on the Sunday. As it is an educational visit, the organisers will contact heads of the children’s schools for permission for them to go on Friday morning.
It costs £85 per head, which includes all children’s meals, accommodation and a free t-shirt. Adult helpers pay £100 per head for full board – these places are limited.
You will stay in shrine accommodation - there are single, double, twin and triple rooms – and there will be lively worship, teaching and fun activities.
The children share rooms with two or three others of the same sex and the organisers aim to ensure they are all comfortable with their room-mates. Everyone meets the week before in Chichester to get to know each other. The accommodation is secure. All children and adults on the site wear a wrist band so no strangers are allowed and all adults are CRB checked.
Parents are not usually expected to attend as there is a families’ pilgrimage every November for those who want to go together.
St John Ambulance will be there over the weekend and risk assessments are carried out in advance.
If you have any queries, contact Mary Nagel at Aldwick Vicarage, 25 Gossamer Lane, Bognor, West Sussex, PO21 3AT or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isabel Foster, ten, writes:
“This year was my third visit to Walsingham. We left St Richard’s at 9am and began our six-hour journey. When we arrived, we unpacked our suitcases and then went to the Holy House for a few prayers. After that we went to dinner and then on to a service.
“On Saturday morning we began our walk up to the Slipper Chapel. When we arrived there we had a short service and then we had a choice whether we wanted to take our shoes off to walk the Holy Mile or not. I have gone barefoot the past two years so didn't hesitate to remove mine.
“When we had finished the Holy Mile we went into the shrine for another service. We were then allowed to go shopping until lunchtime. After lunch we had the chance to have a go on some inflatables or we could do craft activities. Later that evening we had a fab disco where we all wore glow-in-the-dark ears and glasses.
“On Sunday morning we had a Communion service and then more time to go shopping until the sprinkling service before heading home. Walsingham is a great place and I will definitely be going back next year.”
Sister Esme Foster, eight, writes:
“Our Pilgrimage to Walsingham was a brilliant weekend where you got to do all kinds of things. When we got there it felt amazing. Firstly we unpacked our things and then got to play and after went to the shrine for a welcome service.
“The next morning we walked the Holy Mile. On the way we saw loads of dead frogs and toads - yuk! When we arrived at the Slipper Chapel, the Year 4 God team performed a play about how Lady Richeldis had the shrine built. On the way back along the Holy Mile some of us took our shoes and socks off. I did it but the ground was very stony.
“After the long hard stones we came to the town where it was flat - it was lovely. The following day we had a service about making Mary's House your home. Before our long journey home we went to a sprinkling service where you drink some water from the well and with the water they make the sign of the cross on your forehead and pour the rest into your hands.
“Unfortunately we had to go home but we all had a wonderful time and made lots of new friends. So what are you waiting for - come and join the fun next year.”
The girls’ father Simon volunteered as minibus driver last year. He said: “I was amazed by the children’s reactions to Father Stephen Gallagher and the Year 4 God team, where they were both loud and 100 per cent engaged when singing and dancing but so quiet and attentive when it came to some more serious and focusing parts.
“On a personal note, there were a number of times when I was overwhelmed by a feeling of peace and love and became quite emotional. Walsingham really is a special place. Roll on next year, I'm hooked on being a pilgrim.”