The event carefully followed Coronavirus guidelines, and was part of an annual series of events, in which Cambridge’s Catholic community comes together to mark the Season of Creation, from September 1 to October 4.
Serga Collett from St Laurence’s CAFOD group who organised the event explained: “For us this was a pilgrimage to celebrate the glories of creation and an opportunity to pray for Our Common Home using the Novena to St Francis and other CAFOD prayers.”
Wearing a scallop shell from his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Fr Simon Blakesey blessed the group and led the opening prayers in the sunshine outside St Laurence’s church. We then made our way to Blackfriars, where we were warmly welcomed by Fr Bob Eccles OP. We ate our lunch in the garden, where Mass is celebrated daily, and Fr Bob entertained us with a short history of Blackfriars. Before we left, he blessed us and led our prayers.
The pilgrimage then took us along the beautiful Backs, where we were able to admire the colleges and meadows and enjoy ice creams.
Our next stop was the stunning Our Lady and the English Martyrs church in Hills Road. Late summer sunshine shone through the windows, filling the interior with an autumnal golden glow. Newly arrived assistant priest Fr Alan Hodgson welcomed us and led our prayers in a quiet side chapel, and we wished him well in his new role.
The final stage of our walk took us past the Botanic Gardens, along a footpath next to allotments and through the Addenbrookes hospital site to St Philip Howard church. Deacon Dr John Bell and one of the CAFOD parish volunteers were waiting for us with very welcome cups of cold water. Our final prayers were said beside the altar decorated with a wonderful display of dahlias, grown by one of the parishioners.
Our pilgrimage celebrated Our Common Home and reminded us of how we need to care for it. It was also a celebration of hope, friendship, solidarity and community. As I made my way home, I reflected on these words from Laudato Si – they summed up my day perfectly.
“Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.” (LS 244)
Meanwhile another set of Cambridge pilgrims will be heading to Walsingham. Six volunteers from Radio Maria England will set off from Parker’s Piece at 8am on October 4 and aim to arrive at Walsingham on Wednesday 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
On arrival to Walsingham, they will light a candle on behalf of Radio Maria England listeners. Prayer Intentions can be sent to email@example.com. Our pilgrims will receive these intentions on a daily basis throughout their pilgrimage.
Pictured above are the CAFOD walkers at Blackfriars